China’s cooperation proposal in outer space
China launched the Shenzhou-14 spaceship on June 5, sending three taikonauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe to its space station combination for a six-month mission. During their stay in orbit, the crew will witness two lab modules, the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and Shenzhou-15 crewed spaceship, docking with the space station core module.
The China Manned Space Agency has released video updates from space, which show that the station’s core module is packed with research equipment, and the experiments in orbit span a range of disciplines, including microbiology, physics and medicine. In the latest update, the trio was seen undergoing an eye examination and medical aid training.
This is just a glimpse of spectacular achievements that China has made in space.
Since 2016, China’s space industry has made rapid and innovative progress, manifested by a steady improvement in space infrastructure, the completion and operation of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the completion of the high-resolution earth observation system, steady improvement of the service ability of satellite communications and broadcasting, the conclusion of the last step of the three-step lunar exploration program (“orbit, land, and return”), the first stages in building the space station, and a smooth interplanetary voyage and landing beyond the earth-moon system by Tianwen-1, followed by the exploration of Mars. These achievements have attracted worldwide attention.
“To explore the vast cosmos, develop the space industry and build China into a space power is our eternal dream,” stated China’s President Xi Jinping. The space industry is a critical element of the overall national strategy, and China upholds the principle of exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes.
Peaceful exploration, development and utilization of outer space are rights equally enjoyed by all countries. China calls on all countries to work together to build a global community of shared future and carry out in-depth exchanges and cooperation in outer space on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful utilization, and inclusive development.
China will pursue the following basic policies on international exchanges and cooperation:
Safeguarding the central role of the United Nations in managing outer space affairs; abiding by the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies; upholding the guiding role of relevant UN principles, declarations and resolutions; actively participating in the formulation of international rules regarding outer space; and promoting greater sustainability of space activities;
Strengthening international exchanges and cooperation on space science, technology and application; working together with the international community to provide public products and services; and contributing to global efforts to address common challenges;
Strengthening international space cooperation that is based on common goals and serves the Belt and Road Initiative, and ensuring that the space industry benefits the Initiative’s participating countries, especially developing countries;
Supporting the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) to play an important role, and giving weight to cooperation under the BRICS and Group 20 mechanisms and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Encouraging and endorsing the efforts of domestic research institutes, enterprises, institutions of higher learning, and social organizations to engage in international space exchanges and cooperation in diverse forms and at various levels in accordance with relevant policies, laws and regulations.
In the next five years, China will be more open and active in broadening bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, and will engage in extensive international exchanges and cooperation in key areas such as Global Governance of Outer Space, Manned Spaceflight, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, Deep-space Exploration, Space Technology, Space Applications, Space Science, Personnel and Academic Exchanges.
In today’s world, a growing number of countries are seeing the importance of space and are investing more on their space programmes. Space industry around the world has entered a new stage of rapid development and profound transformation that will have a major and far-reaching impact on human society.
At this new historical start towards a modern socialist country, China will accelerate work on its space industry. Guided by the concept of a global community of shared future, it will work actively with other countries including Nigeria to carry out international space exchanges and cooperation, safeguard outer space security, and strive for long-term sustainability in activities related to outer space. By doing so, China will contribute more to protecting the earth, improving people’s wellbeing, and serving human progress.
Chu Maoming is China’s Consul General in Lagos.