Chinese space station is 'for exclusively scientific and civilian purposes': Argentine gov't

Updated: 2015-06-30 11:56


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BUENOS AIRES - The Chinese space station being built in Argentina's southern Patagonian region is for "exclusively scientific and civilian purposes," said the Argentine government, according to local media Monday.

The Ministry of Federal Planning issued a communique late Sunday that condemned a TV news program about the station in Neuquen province.

The program, which aired Sunday evening on Channel 13, owned by Argentine media group Clarin, claimed secret clauses in the bilateral agreement between the two nations could lead to the station being used for military purposes.

"There are no reserved or secret clauses and everything agreed to ... has been approved by the National Congress," the ministry said.

The lengthy communique contained a total of seven points, each refuting a claim made by the program or explaining the station's "exclusively scientific and civilian purposes."

"The agreement signed with China is similar to that signed with the European Space Agency," which operates a deep-space exploration facility in Argentina's Mendoza province, the ministry said. "Nevertheless, the Clarin Group insists on raising baseless suspicions around the agreement with China."

The research station will also benefit Argentina's space program, which will have access to the facility's space antenna, the government has said.

In an interview with Xinhua, Neuquen Governor Jorge Sapag spotlighted the project's peaceful purposes and advantages.

"We're talking about an almost 50 million-dollar investment in Neuquen province" that will create more than 400 jobs and promote the economic, technological and educational development of the local community, he said.

"It's not true that the program has military or security purposes," he added.

The facility, part of China's Lunar Exploration Program, will feature "a space antenna ... for peaceful and scientific ends, for remote monitoring of Chinese spaceships," said Sapag. He explained that the location, which is geographically diametrically opposite China, allows Chinese scientists to follow their spaceships.

The bilateral agreement between Argentina and China was signed in April 2014.