(AFP) – Oct 16, 2007
BEIJING (AFP) — China said Tuesday it remained open to cooperating on space development with the United States, amid concern there about the Asian state's burgeoning space programme.
Vice Minister of Science and Technology Li Xueyong also said China remains keen on taking part in the International Space Station (ISS) project.
"We sincerely hope to conduct cooperation with the United States in the field of space," Li said when asked whether China had such plans.
"At some point we hope to take part in the activities relating to international space stations," he added.
Li spoke at a press conference held to outline scientific and technological advances on the sidelines of the Communist Party Congress, China's most important political event.
He offered no specifics.
The ISS is a space station being built in orbit jointly by the United States, Russia, Japan and a number of European countries.
The US military and some lawmakers have opposed China's involvement in the station and other space cooperation with Beijing, viewing China's young space programme as a potential threat to the US satellite system.
China has poured money into developing a space programme and carried out its first manned space flight in 2003.
Li sought to allay foreign concerns.
"We have consistently worked for peaceful use of outer space," he said.
China in January successfully tested a satellite-killer missile in a trial that fuelled US concerns.
In August, Lieutenant General Kevin Campbell, head of the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, warned that China may be just three years from being able to disrupt US military satellites in a regional conflict.
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