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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 Buspar on 10/16/2007 9:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
Newsflash, China is not a superpower, they are a regional power (They do not have the ability to project power around the globe). Currently only the U.S. can be classified as a world superpower (Russia is on its way back there, but it will depend on their ability to project power overseas). Britain is a world power and can project power globally.

I disagree. At a previous UN agricultural meeting, China was the major power broker of trade deals. Specifically, the developed countries (including the US) would ask China to relay requests to the developing countries, who would in turn send back their replies via the same route. The developed countries wanted larger access to markets to export food, while the developing countries wanted to protect their internal markets. While they ended up not agreeing on a deal, both sides saw China as the mediating element.

Likewise, China's non-interventionist foreign policy and reliance on economic deals over military threats has given them significant influence over the developing world. Countries tend to favor those who don't a) tell them how to run their countries or b) force them into trading deals that are purposefully harmful to them (see the use of economic hit men). China's not a country people are worried will invade them (the Vietnam PM has said as much).

As a result, the developing world (including much of Africa, southeast Asia, and South America) seems to be coalescing around China as their "leader." China can be called a world power because of this. As China's world economic influence expands, it may likely become a superpower - albeit one grounded in a very different policy than the US or USSR.

(The US and USSR became superpowers arguably through "hard power" - military might to battle an enemy. China is becoming a superpower through "soft power" - mutually beneficial economic trade that earns it favors from other nations.)

RE: china is a nice place
By Ringold on 10/17/2007 4:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
In other words, yes, African dictatorships like China because they can continue to rape, pillage and otherwise not give a damn about the millions in poverty while still receiving foreign money.

What a wonderfuly superior moral position China has over the World Bank & IMF.

RE: china is a nice place
By Buspar on 10/17/2007 5:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
What a wonderfuly superior moral position China has over the World Bank & IMF.

China does not assume it knows how to run a country better than the residents of that country. Nor does it follow a practice of brokering deals deliberately designed to undermine the local economy of a country and make them dependent on foreign imports. The World Bank, IMF, and US are guilty of both of these.

As Bremmer stated in "The J Curve," isolating a country economically as the US is fond of doing does nothing but encourage dictatorships and brutal rule (see Iran, Cuba, and Myanmar for examples of US policy failures). The most effective way to effect change in a country is by encouraging that country's economy through actual fair trade. As the material wealth and quality of life of a populace improves, they will gain enough power to enact political change. This is the tact currently being used by China.

So while China is dealing with African dictatorships today, give them a couple decades and you'll see that those countries aren't dictatorships any longer.

RE: china is a nice place
By Ringold on 10/17/2007 7:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
So while China is dealing with African dictatorships today, give them a couple decades and you'll see that those countries aren't dictatorships any longer.

I think there's some validity to that; political freedoms follow economic prosperity and the higher education that comes along with it. I would say, to be fair to the WB, that an army of PhD economists who've spent most their lives studying economic growth really may know a thing or two more about growth and reform than the local run of the mill strongman. Not ever third world country is as lucky as, say, Rwanda and it's Harvard graduate president. Left to their own devices I'd fear they'd follow the Venezeula/Chavez example; wouldn't that be their natural inclination to keep a grip on power? Some others, surely, would follow the China example to prosperity. The World Bank & IMF at least have noble goals; China probably couldn't care any less about local outcomes. I also somehow doubt, regarding a different group, that Chavez and his attempt at a South American WB equivalent will be preaching the good world of free market capitalism.

The WB is also having a mid-life crisis and considering decoupling advice and aid. A good idea, I'd agree. I'd just rather keep the wayward flock at the WB feeding trough; at least they're concerned about the billion living in abject poverty, even if they can only do so much.

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