China requests greater cooperation with other nations in space, the United States in particular, according to the most experienced astronaut in the country through CNN in an exclusive interview.
Japan, Russia, the United States and thirteen more nations cooperate on the missions of the International Space Station, but the involvement of China has always been a non-starter due to the longstanding resistance from the U.S. legislators.
“As an astronaut, I have a strong desire to fly with astronauts from other countries. I also look forward to going to the International Space Station,” Commander Nie Haisheng told CNN.
“…Space is a family affair, many countries are developing their space programs and China, as a big county, should make our own contributions in this field.”
The comments came during a wide-ranging and exclusive interview with the three-person crew of the Shenzhou-10 mission inside Space City which is the center of China’s space program, near Beijin in the previous month.
The congress passed an act in 2011 to bar NASA from having any bilateral contact with individuals of the Chinese space program due to national security fears.
“Every time it gets mentioned at all anywhere near Congress, it gets shut down immediately,” space analyst Miles O’Brien told CNN.
“There is tremendous skepticism there about China. It is viewed as a foe, it is viewed as a government that seeks to take our intellectual property — our national secrets and treasure.”
China said in a white paper released Tuesday that outer space had become an area of ‘strategic competition’.
“The Chinese government has always advocated the peaceful use of outer space, it opposes space weaponization and an arms race in outer space. This position will not be changed,” Wang Jin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said.