V. International Exchanges and Cooperation
The Chinese government holds that all countries in the world have equal rights to peacefully explore, develop and utilize outer space and its celestial bodies, and that all countries' outer space activities should be beneficial to their economic development and social progress, and to the peace, security, survival and development of mankind.
International space cooperation should adhere to the fundamental principles stated in the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and the Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interests of All States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries. China maintains that international exchanges and cooperation should be strengthened on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and inclusive development.
1. Fundamental policies
The Chinese government has adopted the following fundamental policies with regard to international space exchanges and cooperation:
- Supporting activities regarding the peaceful use of outer space within the framework of the United Nations;
- Supporting all inter-governmental and non-governmental space organizations' activities that promote development of the space industry;
- Strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation which is based on common goals and serves the Belt and Road Initiative;
- Supporting the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization to play an important role in regional space cooperation, and attaching importance to space cooperation under the BRICS cooperation mechanism and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
- Encouraging and endorsing the efforts of domestic scientific research institutes, industrial enterprises, institutions of higher learning and social organizations to develop international space exchanges and cooperation in diverse forms and at various levels under the guidance of relevant state policies, laws and regulations.
2. Major events
Since 2011 China has signed 43 space cooperation agreements or memoranda of understanding with 29 countries, space agencies and international organizations. It has taken part in relevant activities sponsored by the United Nations and other relevant international organizations, and supported international commercial cooperation in space. These measures have yielded fruitful results.
(1) Bilateral cooperation
- China and Russia signed the Outline of China-Russia Space Cooperation from 2013 to 2017 through the mechanism of the Space Cooperation Sub-committee during the Prime Ministers' Meeting between Russia and China. The two countries have actively promoted cooperation in deep space exploration, manned spaceflight, earth observation, satellite navigation, space-related electronic parts and components, and other areas.
- China and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed the Outline of China-ESA Space Cooperation from 2015 to 2020 within the mechanism of the China-Europe Joint Commission on Space Cooperation. The two sides have declared their determination to cooperate in deep space exploration, space science, earth observation, TT&C services, space debris, and space-related education and training, and launched the panoramic imaging satellite for solar wind and magnetosphere interaction. The two sides have completed cooperation on the Dragon 3 cooperation program.
- China and Brazil, through the mechanism of the Space Cooperation Sub-committee of the Sino-Brazilian High-level Coordination Commission, have conducted constant cooperation in the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) program. They successfully launched CBERS-4, signed the Supplementary Agreement of China and Brazil on the Joint Development of CBERS-04A and Cooperation Agreement of China and Brazil on Remote-Sensing Satellite Data and Application, maintaining CBERS data consistency. The two countries also updated CBERS data receiving stations in South Africa and Singapore, expanding CBERS data application regionally and globally. They have worked together to set up the China-Brazil Joint Laboratory for Space Weather.
- China and France, within the mechanism of the Sino-French Joint Commission on Space Cooperation, have engaged in bilateral cooperation on astronomic, ocean and other satellite programs. The two countries have signed a letter of intent on space and climate change, and worked to promote the application of space technology in global climate change governance.
- China and Italy set up the Sino-Italian Joint Commission on Space Cooperation, and have steadily carried forward research and development of the China-Italy Electromagnetic Monitoring Experiment Satellite Program.
- China and Britain have promoted construction of a joint laboratory on space science and technology, upgraded their exchanges in space science and technology personnel, and launched cooperative studies on remote-sensing applications.
- China and Germany have promoted dialogue between their space industry enterprises, and strengthened cooperation in high-end space manufacturing.
- China and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation, promoting cooperation in remote-sensing applications in agriculture, water resources and atmospheric environment, and stating that Chang'e-4 would carry a Dutch payload in its mission.
- China and the United States, within the framework of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue, carried out a civil space dialogue, stating that the two countries would strengthen cooperation in space debris, space weather, response to global climate change, and related areas.
- China signed space cooperation agreements and established bilateral space cooperation mechanisms with Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such areas as space technology, space applications, and space science, education and training.
(2) Multilateral cooperation
- China takes an active part in activities organized by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its Scientific and Technical Sub-committee and Legal Sub-committee, and negotiations on international space rules such as the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. It signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the China National Space Administration and the United Nations on Earth Observation Data and Technical Support, actively promoting data sharing and cooperation between China's earth observation satellites on the UN platform.
- China supports the relevant work of the Beijing office of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response. The UN set up the Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (China) in Beijing to promote personnel training in the international space arena.
- Within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), China actively participated in the APSCO Joint Small Multi-mission Satellite Constellation Program. It also organized the APSCO Development Strategy Forum with the theme of "the Belt and Road Initiative for Facilitating Regional Capacity Building of the Asia-Pacific Countries," at which the Beijing Declaration was adopted.
- China and the space agencies of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa co-sponsored and actively promoted cooperation in the BRICS remote-sensing satellite constellation.
- China launched the China-ASEAN Satellite Information Maritime Application Center, and Lancang-Mekong River Spatial Information Exchange Center.
- China actively participated in activities organized by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, Group on Earth Observations, and other intergovernmental organizations. It hosted the 31st Council of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, the 32nd Meeting of the IADC and other international conferences.
- China actively participated in activities organized by the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) and held the Seventh ICG Conference. It actively improved the compatibility and interoperability of the Beidou system with other satellite navigation systems, popularized satellite navigation technology, and cooperated with a number of countries and regions in satellite navigation applications.
- China actively participated in activities organized by the International Astronautical Federation, International Committee on Space Research, International Academy of Astronautics, International Institute of Space Law, and other non-governmental international space organizations and academic institutes. It held the 64th International Astronautical Congress, 2014 United Nations / China / APSCO Workshop on Space Law, 36th International Conference on Earth Science and Remote-Sensing, and related international conferences. It also held the First Seminar on Manned Spaceflight Technology within the framework of the United Nations Program on Space Applications.
- China actively participated in the international coordination of global disaster prevention and reduction, and provided satellite data support and technical services for major international disaster-relief efforts through the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, and related mechanisms.
(3) Commercial activities
China encourages and supports Chinese enterprises to participate in international commercial activities in the space field. It has exported satellites and made in-orbit delivery of Nigeria's communications satellite, Venezuela's remote-sensing satellite-1, Bolivia's communications satellite, Laos' communications satellite-1 and Belarus' communications satellite-1. In addition, it provided commercial launch service for Turkey's Gokturk-2 earth observation satellite, and when launching its own satellites took on small satellites for Ecuador, Argentina, Poland, Luxembourg and other countries. It has also provided business services concerning space information.
3. Key areas for future cooperation
In the next five years China will, with a more active and open attitude, conduct extensive international exchanges and cooperation concerning space in the following key areas:
- Construction of the Belt and Road Initiative Space Information Corridor, including earth observation, communications and broadcasting, navigation and positioning, and other types of satellite-related development; ground and application system construction; and application product development.
- Construction of the BRICS remote-sensing satellite constellation.
- Construction of the APSCO Joint Small Multi-mission Satellite Constellation Program and University Small Satellite Project Development.
- The Moon, Mars and other deep space exploration programs and technical cooperation.
- Inclusion of a space laboratory and a space station in China's manned spaceflight program.
- Research and development of a space science satellite, a remote-sensing satellite, payloads, etc.
- Construction of ground infrastructure such as data receiving stations and communications gateway stations.
- Satellite applications, including earth observation, communications and broadcasting, navigation and positioning.
- Exploration and research on space science.
- Launching and carrying services.
- Space TT&C support.
- Space debris monitoring, early warning, mitigation and protection.
- Space weather cooperation.
- Import and export of and technical cooperation in the field of whole satellites, sub-systems, spare parts and electronic components of satellites and launch vehicles, ground facilities and equipment, and related items.
- Research on space law, policy and standards.
- Personnel exchanges and training in the space field.