A convention to promote space cooperation between Asia-Pacific countries was officially submitted to China's top legislature for deliberation and approval on June 24.
The convention was aimed at establishing Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), a governmental organization to promote multilateral cooperation in space science and technology and its application and regional economic and social development between Asia-Pacific nations.
Eight countries, including China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand signed the convention last October in Beijing and made China its hosting country and Beijing its headquarters. Earlier this month, Turkey also signed the convention, becoming the ninth member of the organization. The countries decided to set up such a organization at the Sixth Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Convention held in 2001.
According to the convention, signatory countries that signed the convention should submit the approval document to the hosting country after the convention has gone through their domestic legal process. Then the convention will take effect after it receives approval from at least five Asia-Pacific member states of the United Nations (UN). When all the procedures are completed, it will mark the official establishment of the APSCO. The Mongolian parliament has endorsed the convention currently.
When Zhang Yunchuan, Director of the State Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, introduced the convention to lawmakers on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, he said endorsing the convention would help to improve the level of China's space technology and its application and broaden its space services and categories of space products, at the same time extending China's influence in the space field and enhancing mutual trust and understanding between China and other Asia-Pacific countries.
As early as 1992, China made the proposal for setting up the APSCO together with Thailand and Pakistan. In the recent five years, China has offered eight short-term training programs on the application of space technology and the administration of spacecrafts for 260 trainees in cooperation with the departments of the UN and other related multilateral international organizations. China has presented a set of weather data receiving and broadcasting equipment to each of seven signatory countries. The equipment receiving data from Fengyun Meteorological Satellites will provide free weather information service for those countries.
(Chinanews June 27, 2006)