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China's space ambitions are for the benefit of all

China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-28 07:31

Last month, two Chinese astronauts returned from a 30-day stay aboard the Tiangong II space laboratory. It was China's longest manned mission so far, and its success paves the way for the planned launch of a fully functioning, permanently crewed space station in six years.

The progress that has been made is remarkable, given that the country only conducted its first manned space mission in 2003. And the country is willing to shoulder more responsibilities in the use of space for the benefit of all humanity.

For example, as the International Space Station is scheduled to retire in 2024, China's planned space station will likely be the sole one in service by then, making it the only platform for scientists from different countries to conduct research in space. The country is an adamant supporter of international space cooperation, as shown by the 43 space deals it has signed with various countries and space agencies over the past five years.

The fundamental purposes of China's space program are to explore outer space and enhance understanding of the Earth and the cosmos. It contributes to the nation's economic, scientific and technological development, its national security and social progress; and further benefits mankind.

China aims to achieve major discoveries and breakthroughs in the frontier areas of space science. It plans to launch its first Mars probe and a lunar probe to the dark side of the moon by 2020. These are expected to unravel more mysteries surrounding the origin and evolution of the solar system.

It also plans to implement a series of new space science satellite programs in the next five years to further mankind's knowledge of the universe, including seeking evidence for the existence of dark matter. And it will make efforts to improve the space environment monitoring system and to build a disaster early warning and prediction platform.

And as a White Paper released by the government on Tuesday highlights, China's space program continues to become more transparent.

While the military utility of space has long been recognized, China is firmly opposed to its militarization and is leading an initiative to create an international treaty banning all weapons in space. But this has met resistance from the United States, which is unwilling to participate in any negotiations.

Given all this, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that those hyping a threat from China's space program are doing so with ill intentions and an ulterior motive.

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