China's space programs threaten no one

Updated: 2012-03-01 21:10


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BEIJING - A leading Chinese space engineer on Thursday defended the rapid development of China's space industry, saying such programs pose no threat to any other country.

"It's inappropriate to say that China's space industry will threaten other countries," said Qi Faren, the former chief designer of the Shenzhou spaceships series, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, to open Saturday.

"A rapidly developing space industry does not mean China has renounced its peaceful commitment," said Qi, who is a member of the CPPCC National Committee. "All China is doing is to pursue a peaceful development of the space industry as planned."

"Objectively speaking, China and the United States are now in a competition situation in developing space industry," Qi said when asked to comment on the two countries' space programs.

The engineer said, in rapidly developing its own space industry, China has learned lessons from countries such as the United States and Russia.

"We've avoided mistakes they made and did not detour," Qi said.

In a white paper on China's space activities in 2011, China vowed to maintain a principle of peaceful development in its space missions and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes. China opposes the weaponization of, or an arms race in, outer space, according to the paper.