Commentary: China's open, inclusive approach to space exploration

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-13 10:45:57|Editor: ZX
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by Xinhua writer Wang Zichen

VIENNA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- In a tangible step towards openness and international cooperation, China and the United Nations (UN) on Wednesday jointly announced nine international scientific experiments that would be conducted on the China Space Station (CSS).

The nine experiments involving 23 entities from 17 countries -- emerging from 42 proposals of 27 countries -- were selected, with six fully and three conditionally.

By providing scientists from around the world with an opportunity to conduct their own experiments aboard the CSS, the Chinese program aims to open up space exploration activities to all nations and to create a new paradigm in building capabilities in space science and technology.

Since the launch of its first satellite in 1970, China has achieved one after another feat in exploring the space. Its state-of-art space program, including the well-established Manned Space Program, is one of the most holistic and technologically advanced in the world.

But the country does not intend to limit the scientific opportunities in space adventures solely to itself; rather, it has always held that the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit of all countries, irrespective of their level of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind, as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed.

China is walking the talk on this. In 2016, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and China's Manned Space Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the joint development of space capabilities of UN member states with opportunities aboard the CSS, which is expected to be operational around 2022.

Last year the UN and China invited applications to conduct experiments aboard the CSS, and Wednesday's announcement is a milestone in the process towards openness and cooperation in space. In addition, there will be a second invitation for international experiments at an appropriate time, a Chinese space official has said.

The approach of China is also a reflection of the country's attitude towards international affairs. Cooperation and multilateralism, instead of isolation and unilateralism, are what China advocates and practices. As a vivid manifestation of multilateralism, the CSS cooperation is open and inclusive and does not intend in any way to form an exclusive circle.

Against the backdrop of increasing unilateralism and protectionism worldwide, China's opening of the CSS to others -- scientists in both developing and developed countries-- serves as a telling example.

It's also evidence that China's development is a rising tide that lifts all boats. As China booms, it appreciates the interdependence and interactivity with global partners, and always stands ready to share opportunities and achieve common development with others.

In particular, the country puts an emphasis on ensuring developing countries' participation. As a Chinese ambassador said here, China takes into account the special needs of developing countries and encourages developing countries to submit joint project applications with developed countries. The aim, he said, is to help developing countries to bridge the technological gap and realize space access and exploration.

Last but not least, the endeavor of human race to jointly explore space is perhaps a perfect illustration of the Chinese vision for a community with a shared future for mankind, which pursues an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.