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4th May 2006 – On Wednesday, a senior aerospace executive in China said that the nation keenly anticipated cooperation with the U.S in the area of aeronautics.

The President of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Zhang Qingwei said China looked forward to welcoming Michael Griffin, the administrator for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) on his forthcoming visit to the country.

Although the specific purpose of the trip has not yet been revealed, Griffin said that he had decided to accept an invite from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for a visit to China and to hold talks on the possibility on space cooperation between the two nations.

Zhang said that he personally hoped that personnel exchanges between the two nations would eventually become common place and consistently more mutual.

Although US visitors have been able to enter China for some time, it has often been the case that Chinese space scientists and aerospace staff have either had their visas declined to the US or have had difficulty when trying to attend international space conferences that have been held there and Zhang said that he was hopeful this scenario would begin to change.

He went on to say that it would be possible for the US and China to cooperate on a number of different areas such as commercial satellite launches, deep space exploration and manned space flights, and that when it came to technology, it is expected that both nations would have respect for each other’s intellectual property rights.

Zhang is also the deputy chief commander of the Manned Space Program in China and said that the program had recently been able to achieve more while spending lower amounts of money through advances in technology.

Since China’s manned space program was created in 1992 China has reportedly poured $2.5 billion US which has brought the nation into the forefront of aerospace technology which previously appeared to be the sole domain of what used to be the Soviet Union and the US.

Zhang added that the innovations that have been made in terms of space technology have become more and more applicable to economic development nationwide.