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Country welcomes EU Galileo project
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-01 22:56

China is welcoming the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system as a significant boost for industries like transport and communications.

Fang Xiangming, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the major initiator of the project in China, was keen to stress that China intends to use the system for civilian purposes only. He was speaking during high-level Sino-French dialogues in aviation and spaceflight.

The 30-satellite system, which has a navigational fix accurate to within a metre, will provide safe, reliable and accurate navigational information for Chinese users in civil aviation and railways, waterways and road transport, Fang said.

CASIC and its French peer is building a system in China to improve the information sent by the Galileo system so that China's civil aviation can enjoy accurate, complete, feasible and continuous navigation.

Fang said China and France had enormous room for improvement in spheres like satellite navigation, because of China's huge market for global applications for a satellite navigation system and France's advanced technology and experience.

Sponsored by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, the space project is a satellite positioning and navigation system to be used entirely for civilian purposes.

The project is expected to be operational by 2008, and will compete with and even outperform the existing Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States with more precise information with a larger coverage.

China is also willing to propel scientific co-operation with France in agriculture, space and aviation, information technology, new energy resources and studies for treating and preventing difficult diseases.

Vice-minister of Science and Technology Cheng Jinpei spoke of the matter at a forum of Sino-French science and innovation which opened yesterday in Beijing.

Cheng said scientists from China and France have been conducting successful co-operation since the two sides signed government scientific agreements in 1978.

The two countries are focusing on building joint laboratories for universities and research institutes to develop other technologies, he said.

He said the forum is expected to push the co-operation into a new phase of technological innovation.

In its scientific blueprint for the next 15 years, China will concentrate on basic scientific research, and seek technological breakthroughs in energy and water resources, environmental protection, agricultural restructuring, manufacturing and food production.

The country will also improve research facilities and make more efforts to develop technological products which are more competitive in the world market, said Cheng.

Philippe Guelluy, ambassador of France to China, said scientists from the two sides have made great efforts in applying mathematics to information science.

The two sides have jointly set up a research centre at Tongji University in Shanghai. The centre will offer transport and specialized training programmes in 2006, he said.

Su Jing, an official at the Department for Policy, Regulation and System Reform with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said China will work out a series of preferential policies covering taxation, international trade and government purchase, to help create a favourable climate for companies to achieve technological innovation.

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