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The ISS  (Source: NASA)
China wants in, but the U.S. may not allow it

Chinese space officials today announced the country is still willing to work alongside the United States on extraterrestrial endeavors, especially the International Space Station.

"We sincerely hope to conduct cooperation with the United States in the field of space," said Li Xueyong, Vice Minister of Space and Technology.  "At some point we hope to take part in the activities relating to international space stations."

Sixteen nations are currently involved in the ISS project, but China is not one of them even though the country has one of the fastest growing space programs in the world.  China would ultimately like to have an astronaut stationed on the ISS in the future, but must convince the United States and other partners to allow a communist nation to be allowed to participate in the project.

Li did not clearly specify how China hopes to help the participating nations work on the ISS.

State media in China reported the country plans to launch its first lunar probe before November, only weeks after Japan launched one into orbit.  In 2003, China became the third nation to successfully launch an astronaut into orbit with no help from other nations.

There is growing concern over the country's expanding space program, which reached a new level after China announced it had destroyed an old satellite last January by shooting a land-based missile to destroy it.  Critics of the launch claim China could theoretically launch a missile to destroy active military satellites, though Chinese officials still claim the nation has only peaceful plans for space.


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RE: china is a nice place
By willj on 10/16/2007 9:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, China has done a lot of horrible things in the past, but do we punish their government by keeping them in the dark? I personally don't think that will improve their human rights issues. By allowing China to play a bigger role in international affairs, they are allowed a broader perspective on whats going on in the rest of the world. Hopefully, this will gradually change their government policies.

As a matter of fact, this has process has already been going on for the past 10-20 years in China. Yes China isn't perfect, but come on, you all gotta admit China has vastly improved in the past decade. The status of the average citizen has no doubt improved, access to foreign media has become much more readily available (yes I know about the censorship but it's better than no internet at all), growing capitalism, etc.

I will state again that China is certainly not perfect, in fact maybe even far from it, but the fact is, there is visible improvement in all aspects of the country. That's a good sign. Punishing the government by isolating them will only worsen the status quo, because you are in effect also isolating its people.


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