China-EU Get Positive Litmus Test

China and European countries have promising cooperative prospects in a raft of fields which will boost science in their respective regions, it was disclosed yesterday.

Scientists working in the fields of new materials and energy, oceanography, environment, information and biological technologies will benefit from parallel programs with data being shared.

China's "863 Program"- a high-tech plan initiated in March 1986 to reinforce the country's overall economic strength - will focus more on the above fields in the next few years, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

And it will operate in parallel with the European Union (EU)'s implementation of its Sixth Framework Program of Research, Technological Development and Demonstration in October.

The framework also focuses on developing information and biological technologies, new materials and energy resources, oceanography and environmental sciences.

"This will provide a very good opportunity for cooperation between the EU and China, as the two sides have targeted common research fields and have agreed to open their respective plans to each other," said Zhang Zhiqin, an official at the ministry's Department for International Cooperation.

The EU began to open its Fifth Framework Program for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration to China in 1998.

This indicated that China has become an equal scientific partner of the EU, compared with its previous beneficiary status, said Zhang.

Chinese scientists have joined eight projects of the EU Fifth Framework Program - in areas ranging from flood studies to information technology, electronic commerce and biological engineering.

Scientists from the EU have also applied to join China's "863 Program," according to Zhang.

In its recently approved Country Strategy Paper for China (2002-06), the European Commission made helping China maintain sustainable development with relevant technology a priority.

China-EU cooperation has made great progress in information technology (IT), said the Information Society Directorate-General of the European Commission.

The two sides will hold a Euro-China Cooperation Forum on the Information Society between April 16 and 20 in Beijing.

The EU will provide 5 million euros (US$4.4 million) to sponsor the forum, which is the largest IT forum ever held outside Europe, said Zhang.

More than 160 large EU companies will attend the forum to display their latest IT products and discuss cooperation with Chinese counterparts through seminars, exhibitions and business meetings.

China and the EU started scientific cooperation as early as 1981 and this has been widened from energy to agriculture, medicine, natural resources, communications, environmental protection, space and aviation.

(China Daily April 10, 2002)

In This Series

President Extols China-EU Relations

China-EU Ties Hailed

China, EU Strengthen IT Cooperation

China, EU to Enhance Cooperation in 2002

Sino-European Relations: Ties Take on a Fresh Look

China, EU Contribute Millions to Environmental Protection

Sino-EU Co-operation to Usher in Bright Future



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