European Union Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin is now in China to broaden EU-China relations and reinforce cooperation in science and technology.
He is accompanied on the visit by a delegation of leading European business and space sector executives.
Space policy and nuclear fusion research, particularly the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, will top the agenda during his meetings with Chinese authorities during his six-day visit, which began on April 6. Busquin will continue his Asian tour with a visit to South Korea on April 12 and 13.
“The EU and China can both benefit greatly from improved cooperation in the fields of science and technology,” said Busquin in Beijing on April 7 at the opening ceremony of the EU-China High-Level Workshop on Space Cooperation.
“Much has already been achieved, particularly in the fields of biotechnology, food safety, SARS, energy and nuclear fusion, space technologies and new materials. But more must be done. To boost Europe’s competitiveness on the world stage we must continue to build on our achievements by increasing cooperation in new areas.”
Ma Songde, vice minister of science and technology, also addressed the opening ceremony, saying, “The workshop will definitely give great impetus to the development of space technology in both China and EU nations.”
He added that the Chinese government advocates peaceful utilization of outer space to benefit mankind.
At the workshop, government officials, specialists and business people from Europe and China discussed space science and technology, global navigation satellite systems, commercial applications of space technologies, the training and mobility of scientists, Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) and solar system and deep space exploration, as well as plans to establish a long-term partnership between the EU and China in related activities.
In 2003, the EU and China signed a cooperation agreement related to the EU’s Galileo global satellite navigation program. The EU-China Galileo Training and Cooperation Center was established in Beijing last year.
The EU and China, together with Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States are partners in negotiations to jointly construct and operate ITER, a research project on nuclear fusion energy. ITER will provide a major step forward in developing fusion power production.
Construction of ITER is estimated to cost around 4.5 billion Euros. During his visit to China, Busquin will discuss negotiations on the choice between the candidate sites: Cadarache in France and Rokkasho-Mura in northern Japan.
Busquin and China’s Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua are also expected to sign a joint statement outlining their mutual commitment to furthering science and technology cooperation and to announce the establishment of the High-Level Steering Group on EU-China Space Cooperation.
Busquin will speak at Tsinghua University on April 8 before making a series of visits to facilities in Hubei and Anhui provinces.
(China.org.cn April 8, 2004）