4 June 2009

UNOV Director-General Meets Chinese Taikonauts

Opportunities for International Cooperation in the Field of Outer Space Highlighted

VIENNA, 4 June (UN Information Service) - Taikonauts Yang Liwei and Jing Haipeng met today with Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General, UNOV. They were part of a delegation that was headed by Tang Guoqiang, Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Vienna), and Wang Wenbao, Director-General, Manned Space Engineering Programme Office and are in Vienna as part of the Chinese delegation to the 52nd session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

Ambassador Tang expressed China's interest in cooperation with other countries in the field of outer space. He appreciated the fact that  Mr. Yang was among the first speakers at the COPUOS opening session on 3 June. In this address, Mr. Yang said yesterday: "We fully recognize the importance of international cooperation in the field of space exploration. While I was flying in outer space on board Shenzou V, I displayed the UN flag and made the declaration for the peaceful use of outer space for the benefit of all mankind." He further said: "We sincerely wish for lasting friendship and a deeper and wider cooperation with other countries and a more beautiful prospect for peace and development of all mankind."

Director-General Wang briefed Mr. Costa about China's outer space programme, which was launched in 1992 and performed three manned and four unmanned missions. He announced the launch of a larger rocket, scheduled for 2011, which will include a small-scale space lab. This mission will prepare China's programme to set up a space station between 2015 and 2022. In this regard, Mr. Wang stressed opportunities for international cooperation. It was also noted that the current session was an opportunity to showcase China's efforts in the outer space programme.

UNOV Director-General Antonio Maria Costa expressed his appreciation for the efforts for the peaceful uses of outer space and remembered the return, three years ago, of the UN flag that was carried onboard China's first human spaceflight Shenzou V in 2006 by Yang Liwei, China's first taikonaut.

Mazlan Othman, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) stressed the warm relations with China and pointed to the fact that an office of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) will be established in Beijing, China. Congratulating Mr. Yang for his assignment as head of the Chinese taikonauts training programme, Ms. Othman suggested opportunities for international cooperation, in particular for astronauts from developing countries.

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For further information, please contact:

Lothar Mikulla
Associate Information Officer, UNIS
Telefon: (+43-1) 26060-5693
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5693
Email: Lothar.Mikulla@unvienna.org