NASA Chief Agrees to Working Groups with China, But Full Cooperation Far Off
by Brian Berger, Space News Staff Writer
Date: 26 September 2006 Time: 03:11 PM ET
Griffin said during the press conference that NASA remains unable to cooperate with China's military-based space program due to U.S. proliferation concerns, but would continue to talk with the civilian side of China's space program to explore opportunities for cooperation. He said the trip had already yielded an agreement with his Chinese counterpart, China National Space Administration Director Sun Laiyan, for NASA and CNSA to talk at least once a year and to explore establishing working groups in a number of areas, including Earth science, climate research, robotic missions and sharing data from various science missions. "We believe that might be a productive thing to do, and we are going to explore it," Griffin said. Griffin, however, made clear that extending an invitation to China to join the international space station program was not in the cards. "There are no plans on our part to work with China on the ISS construction," Griffin said in response to a question from a reporter. "The ISS program is the International Space Station program. In its present form, it is now approaching 13 years old. The partnerships that led to the development of the ISS are well established. I do not propose to change any of those arrangements at the present time." Griffin did not rule out eventual cooperation with China "in the arena of manned space flight" but said that any such joint endeavors would happen after the United States and its partners complete development of the ISS.
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