The European Union (EU) in Brussels Thursday hailed China's first successful manned space flight, which circled the earth 14 times during its 21-hour trip and made China become the third space power after Russia and the United States.
"The successful launch and safe return of a Chinese astronaut represents an important event for space exploration. Human space flight is a dream for all of us and opens a new chapter for scientific and technological exploration of space," EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin said in a statement.
"For the European Union, it still remains a goal to be achieved. This endeavor can bring nations together and opens up new opportunities for scientific and technological cooperation," he said.
"I congratulate the People's Republic of China and the Chinese people for the success of their first human space flight," Busquin said on behalf of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU.
"The EU is currently developing a comprehensive space policy for the decades to come, in which international cooperation is an essential component," Busquin said.
"Until now the cooperation between EU programs and the People's Republic of China has focused on remote sensing applications. The Chinese participation in the (EU's) Galileo project marks an important step forward," he said.
"But we also hope that this cooperation can be enlarged to include more projects in the future. I plan to visit the People's Republic of China soon and this will present a good opportunity to discuss further joint initiatives in this field," he added.
(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2003)