EU wants better space cooperation with China

Updated: 2011-04-05 10:23


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BRUSSELS - The European Union announced Monday that it wants to improve cooperation with China on space exploration and technology.

EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani said the space initiatives should become an integral part of EU foreign policy, making it all the more important to improve cooperation with China, which has a rapidly developing space policy.

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The EU said it wants to develop its links in the field of satellite navigation.

China launched its first manned flight in 2003 and plans an unmanned moon landing next year and a space station later. Within years, it has become a major player in space technology, while the EU has lost some its edge over protracted political haggling related to its Galileo satellite navigation system.

Now the European Commission wants to boost the industry again to increase economic output.

"Space is strategic for Europe's independence, job creation and competitiveness," Tajani said in Frascati, Italy. In his outline for the 27 EU member states, he called for outreach programs with "emerging space powers," specifically China.

After being an investment partner in Galileo, China has developed its own Beidou, or "Compass," navigation system.

Even though Europe still has an edge in many areas, it also shows that international cooperation is necessary to secure its own future.

Currently, the EU space industry has euro5.4 billion ($7.7 billion) in revenue. The EU expects that the market for global satellite navigation systems will reach an annual global turnover of euro240 billion ($342 billion) in 10 years.


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