From: Voice of America News
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2000
China has for the first time released a policy paper to the public, which outlines its plans for space exploration. The paper's release coincides with a U.S. waiver of sanctions against China, which will allow the resumption of U.S. satellite launches in China.
The policy paper sheds some light on a very secretive part of China's economy. The paper, released by the official Xinhua News Agency Wednesday, sets out China's goals for manned space exploration by the end of the decade, and calls for strengthening its program of commercial satellite launches, among other things. The paper also highlights China's major achievements in space since it launched its first satellite in 1970, and describes China's hopes of becoming a leading player in space exploration in the future.
The paper points with pride to China's Long March rockets, which have launched 27 foreign-made satellites since 1985, and says that China plans to compete for a larger share of the international market for commercial satellite launches. It also calls for increased international space cooperation, which it stresses must be what it calls peaceful, an oblique reference to U.S. plans for a missile defense system, which China strongly opposes. Beijing issued the paper on space exploration shortly after pledging Tuesday not to help other countries develop ballistic missiles that can be used for nuclear weapons, the strongest commitment it has yet made on refraining from spreading missile technology.
The U.S. State Department immediately welcomed this pledge, and responded by waiving economic sanctions on Chinese companies it believed to have provided ballistic missile technology to Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. The United States will also resume processing licenses for commercial space cooperation with Chinese companies, which includes U.S. commercial satellite launches in China.
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