Eight countries from the Asia-Pacific region signed a convention on space cooperation in Beijing on Friday as the precursor to establishing an inter-governmental organization facilitating international alliances in the peaceful use of space.
The convention signed by Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand and China will take effect once five or more United Nations members in the region sign the document and deliver the instrument of ratification to the Chinese Government, the host country.
The signing marks a milestone for the official launch of the Asia-Pacific Space cooperation Organization (APSCO), which will be headquartered in Beijing.
"China is ready to work together with other countries in the peaceful use of space resources to allow all of the world's people to benefit from the space technology and its application," Vice Premier Huang Ju said at the signing ceremony.
He added that, as the organization's host country, China welcomes more applications to join the group from throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In 1992, China initiated a motion on multilateral cooperation in space technology and application in the Asia-Pacific region along with Thailand and Pakistan and has been promoting the establishment of the organization ever since.
"It has become a consensus that the rapid growth of the space industry needs broad and close international teamwork considering its high economic input and great risks in research and exploration," Luo Ge, vice-director of the China National Space Administration, told a news conference on Friday.
Based on its common objectives, APSCO aims to serve as a platform for the members of the organization to develop multilateral cooperation in space science, technology and its applications, Luo said.
"cooperation will focus on such fields as observation of the earth, disaster prevention, environmental protection, satellite navigation and communication, as well as research and training of space technology and its applications," he told reporters.
Sources from the China National Space Administration said a multi-purpose small satellite jointly developed by China, Thailand, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Iran, is expected to be launched in the second half of next year.
The satellite will be used for observation of the earth and telecommunications.
(China Daily October 29, 2005)