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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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By Hieyeck on 10/17/2007 5:23:50 PM , Rating: 1
I should've probably made note of the point that I was trying to make - modern governments around the world aren't all that different.

And some things to consider for China in the past 50 years:
- It managed to quell internal strife, albeit in not the most 'humane' way (take note that it is mostly western views and western influence that opposes China's method of dealing with dissent. Most Chinese could care less about stuff like Tiananmen, because the general attitude in the country is 'don't bother us and we won't bother you')
- It has brought its infrastructure from DIRT/STONE ROADS to having the world's 2nd longest paved highway system, and a rail system to boot. Shanghai is now among the world's busiest commercial ports (air AND sea) >>see wikipedia
- From a backwards, 3rd world nation to economic (and arguably military, if by sheer numbers alone) superpower. Plenty of South American countries are still working at creating a stable economy, let alone become a power.

People bitch and whine about China not being a democracy. 4000 recorded years (and even more beyond recorded history) of uninterrupted tradition and culture (Mongols who took over parts of China ended up being assimilated into Chinese culture in a single generation) developed around authoritarian rule and being the dominant power is hard to change and it's definitely not happening overnight, nor in the next few years, but it's getting there. Last I checked, it took Americans a revolutionary war, a civil war and 200 years to reach a "true democracy" (universal sufferage didn't happen until 1971, 1920 if you want to be generous). Considering that China was still governed by a heriditary monarchy up until the early 20th century, I'd say China is ahead of the curve.

Back on topic, as much as I like to support China, I'm against China setting up any part of the ISS. While the infrastructure and technology exists in China, I doubt its ability to meet the safety standards. What I see happening is in 30 years, when the ISS is due to be retired, China will be heading up the next space station project, if not going it alone by then. As for contributing monetarily and intellectually, I see nothing wrong with it. It IS the INTERNATIONAL Space Station.

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