US, China Agree to Discuss Cooperation in Space

The United States and China have agreed to discuss expanded cooperation in space exploration and science. According to a joint statement released in Beijing on Tuesday, the two counties will start a “dialogue” on human space flight and exploration, and both nations looked forward to reciprocal visits by the NASA administrator and appropriate Chinese space leaders in 2010. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, currently in Japan, said cooperation on the high frontier could pay dividends for both countries.

“I am perfectly willing, if that’s the direction that comes to me, to engage the Chinese in trying to make them a partner in any space endeavor,” Bolden said, according to AFP. “I think they’re a very capable nation.

“They have demonstrated their capability to do something that only two other nations that have done, that is, to put humans in space. And I think that is an achievement you cannot ignore.”

He said China is a nation “that is trying to really lead” and that if the two space powers cooperate, “we would probably be better off than if we would not.”

From the joint statement:

The United States and China look forward to expanding discussions on space science cooperation and starting a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit. Both sides welcome reciprocal visits of the NASA Administrator and the appropriate Chinese counterpart in 2010.

The statement also said the two countries applaud the rich achievements in scientific and technological cooperation and exchanges between the two countries over the past 30 years, and agreed to further upgrade the level of exchanges and cooperation in scientific and technological innovation through the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation.

Read the full agreement statement.

Source: CBS News Spaceplace