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16 Mar, 2021 16:00

Cooperation between China & Russia on Moon is NOT about confrontation with West, and others can take part, says Moscow space chief

Cooperation between China & Russia on Moon is NOT about confrontation with West, and others can take part, says Moscow space chief

In planning to build a scientific station on the Moon, Russia and China are not taking aim at the West – it’s simply about international cooperation in lunar exploration, according to Russian space agency head Dmitry Rogozin.

Last week, Moscow and Beijing signed a memorandum agreeing to build a research station with a “complex of experimental and research facilities,” with the aim of an eventual human presence on Earth’s only natural satellite.

In response, an article published in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post called the proposed lunar station “an ominous sign for the West.” According to Rogozin, this is a complete misunderstanding of the program.

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“This is not true,” the Roscosmos chief tweeted on Monday. “The plans of Russia and China on the Moon are open to broad international participation. This is not about confrontation, but about cooperation in the exploration of the Moon.”

According to the article in the Post, Moscow and Beijing’s plan is “another sign” that the two nations are “drawing closer into a de facto alliance against the West.”

“The lunar research station itself harbors little immediate import or threat. Neither country possesses the capability to construct such a fixture,” the piece said. “But that itself is a worrying sign. Russia and China have been pulling together for most of the past decade in an increasingly tight embrace.”

This is not the first time Russia and China have pledged to work with each other, having launched a space cooperation program in 2017 that is due to run until 2022. It includes six sections, including lunar and deep space exploration.

While Beijing and Moscow have plans for the Moon, Washington has also outlined its own ideas. According to NASA’s Artemis plan, the US will land the first woman on the Moon in 2024.

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