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Timetable for space station denied
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China hasn't set any specific timetable for the development of a space station, a spokesman with China National Space Administration (CNSA) said Wednesday.

"According to the national outline for mid- and long-term scientific and technological development, and the outline for space technology development during the 11th-five-year period (2006-2010) issued by the State Council on May 10 this year, China will focus on manned spaceflight and lunar exploration in the near future," Li Guoping, the CNSA spokesman, told a press conference.

"No plans issued by the government so far has said we are going to develop a space station," Li said.

The China Daily reported Wednesday, citing a top rocket expert, that China is well on track to launching its own space station by 2020.

Long Lehao, a leading designer of Long March 3A, the launch vehicle for the country's first lunar probe Chang'e-1, said it is the first time the timetable to be made public for the launch of China's first space station, the third and final step of the country's current manned space program.

Li said the currently operational International Space Station, jointly built by 16 nations, including the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and 11 member countries of the European Space Agency, has provided convenience for space experiment.

"Chinese scientists are willing to participate in the experiments carried out in the International Space Station," he said, adding that the CNSA supports the participation in relevant activities in the International Space Station, under the principles of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful use and mutual development.

(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2007)

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