Taking another small step on a journey of a thousand miles

After Tuesday’s meeting between Presidents Obama and Hu, the two countries issued a joint statement covering a wide range of issues, including one paragraph about space issues:

The United States and China look forward to expanding discussions on space science cooperation and starting a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit. Both sides welcome reciprocal visits of the NASA Administrator and the appropriate Chinese counterpart in 2010.

Space also merited one sentence later, on security issues: “The two sides believed that the two countries have common interests in promoting the peaceful use of outer space and agree to take steps to enhance security in outer space.”

The former passage sounds similar to efforts in the last several years to start to develop greater cooperation between the two countries in space, including a 2006 visit to China by then-administrator Mike Griffin. Those cooperative efforts were hindered by the January 2007 Chinese ASAT test, which leads to the latter passage, although it’s not clear what might be involved in steps to “enhance security” in space.

5 comments to Taking another small step on a journey of a thousand miles

  • Doug Lassiter

    Ah, there it is. As I noted below in a thread from the other day, the “Joint Press Statement” (which is really two statements delivered jointly) had nothing from Obama about space. I guess he was saving those words for the “Joint Statement” which expresses consensus better. These consensus words serve reasonably well as a foundation for any reference to such collaboration with the Chinese in the upcoming replan, though “starting a dialogue” is not a particularly big brick on which to build near term activities.

  • Peaceful cooperation is nice but a lot more progress in space will be made from competition than cooperation. Friendly competition is a good thing, IMO.

    I look forward to the day when the EU and nations like Japan, India and Brazil join the US, Russia, and China in having their own independent manned space flight capabilities.

    But NASA needs to focus more on helping private industry to develop the next generation of rocket vehicles that will give the emerging private manned space flight industry easy access to orbit and to the surface of the Moon so that the rest of us can some day venture into space.

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