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DOCUMENT A/1853

3 June 2004


Aerospace cooperation between Europe and China


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Document A/1853
3 June 2004

Aerospace cooperation between Europe and China

REPORT1

submitted on behalf of the Technological and Aerospace Committee2
by Mr O'Hara, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Socialist Group)

_____________________

1 Adopted unanimously by the Committee on 6 May 2004.

2 Members of the Committee: Mr Arnau Navarro (Chairman); MM Mauro, O'Hara (Vice-Chairmen); MM Agramunt Font de Mora, Anacoreta Correia, Atkinson, Azzolini (Alternate: Barbieri), Bindig, Braga, Van den Brande, Danieli, Dimas, Duivesteijn, Etherington, Haupert, Höfer, Kucheida, Le Guen (Alternate: Branger), Letzgus, Martínez Casañ, Meale (Alternate: Cox), Mrs Melandri, MM Monfils, Pintat, Reymann, Siebert, Verivakis, van Winsen.
Associate members: MM Açikgöz, Ates, Çavusoglu, Eörsi, Gawlowski (Alternate: Lorenz), Mrs Hlödversdottir, MM Komorowski, Konradsen, Rockenbauer, Mrs Senyszyn, Mr Titz, N..., N...

N.B.: The names of those taking part in the vote are printed in italics.


RESOLUTION 1201

on aerospace cooperation between Europe and China

      The Assembly,

  1. Noting China's enormous potential in the space sector, both in scientific and technological terms and in terms of the market;
  2. Considering in particular China's recent achievements in the field of satellite launches and manned space flights;
  3. Recalling the fruitful cooperation that has existed for twenty years between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese National Space Authority (CNSA) in the fields of space-based earth observation and the launch of observation satellites, and in particular their more recent cooperation on the "Double Star" programme;
  4. Considering the importance of the Agreement concluded between the European Union and China on China's participation in the Galileo satellite navigation programme and the problems encountered with the practical implementation of that Agreement due to its security implications;
  5. Considering also the development of bilateral cooperation between China and a number of EU member states, and between China and the European and international space industries;
  6. Recalling that the EU's aim of acquiring greater autonomy in the space sector could be furthered by international cooperation, including with China, and that the EU has expressed the intention of developing its strategic partnership with that country;
  7. Considering, nevertheless, that fruitful cooperation between Europe and China would be greatly facilitated if China:
    • showed greater transparency in its objectives and in the information it gives on its
      space programmes;
    • decided to formally join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR);
    • made greater efforts to reach an understanding with the United States in order to overcome its opposition to China's participation in the International Space Station (ISS);
    • ratified the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  8. Recalling that it is first and foremost up to China to establish the appropriate conditions, in particular as regards its human rights situation and application of the Code of Conduct on arms exports, for enabling the EU embargo on arms exports to that country to be lifted,

      I. INVITES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO:

  1. Pursue its evaluation of the conditions in which the EU embargo on arms exports to China could be lifted;
  2. Exert pressure on China to formally join the MTCR and to show greater transparency and provide more information on its programmes and intentions in the space sector;
  3. Establish a regular parliamentary dialogue with China on space cooperation, and support the efforts the European industry is making to develop such cooperation;
  4. Maintain a regular transatlantic dialogue on the implications of including China in international space cooperation,

      II. INVITES THE STATES PARTICIPATING IN THE GALILEO PROGRAMME TO:

    1. Determine the elements of the Galileo programme on which there could be cooperation with China and identify the problems that might arise with such cooperation, with a view to finding appropriate solutions;

    2. Encourage space cooperation between Europe and China in the industrial, scientific and technological areas;

    3. Call on China to set up a civilian space structure equivalent to that of Europe.


EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

submitted by Mr O'Hara, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Socialist Group)

I. Introduction

  1. The Technological and Aerospace Committee has for some time now devoted much of its efforts to space and to its applications for security and defence in particular. Reference has already been made in previous reports to the physical and legal characteristics of space that make it the ideal location for observation, data gathering and data transmission activities. Indeed, as a site for the deployment of observation, telecommunications, surveillance, early warning and intelligence-gathering systems, space plays a key role in political, economic and military activities and represents a major strategic challenge for international security and defence.
  2. We have observed the extent to which our societies are becoming ever more dependent on space-based systems in all areas. Security and defence, for example, are inconceivable in the 21st century without appropriate, reliable space-based capabilities. In all domains − for military and civil security, in theatres of operations or on the sites of natural disasters − satellites have become valuable political decision-making aids.
  3. The United States, unsurprisingly, was the first to realise the importance of mastering space in order to achieve information superiority. This led to the US doctrine of "space dominance" set out in a report submitted by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in January 2001. In one of its previous reports2 the Technological and Aerospace Committee drew attention to the increasing dominance of the United States in the space sector and to the need for Europe too, if it wished to become a leading international player in the economic and political spheres, to incorporate the space component in its strategy and to attain autonomy in this area.
  4. That report also made clear that a European space policy calls for technical expertise, a large scientific community and a strong industry, and for a strong common political resolve to bind all these elements together.
  5. With a view to maintaining and strengthening European space-based capacities, the EU Council3 instructed the Commission to draw up, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), an overall document on European space strategy. The resulting document defines three aims: to strengthen the base for space activities by preserving independent access to space and establishing a broad technological base together with the industrial capacities needed to design, build and operate satellites and the related ground infrastructure; to enhance scientific knowledge in order to gain a better understanding of our planet, solar system and universe; and finally, to use that knowledge for the benefit of markets and society by making the most of the technological capacities of the space community.
  6. As far as the security and defence aspects of that European space strategy are concerned, the EU needs to acquire the means of attaining the objectives of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). It must envisage making the most of dual-use technologies, consolidate the member states' national satellite communications, intelligence-gathering and observation programmes, and coordinate their global observation and monitoring programmes through the GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security).
  7. A European space policy designed to strengthen Europe's space capabilities is to be implemented in two phases. The first phase, ending in 2007, will be devoted to putting in place the different activities covered by the recent framework agreement between the EU and ESA. The second phase, from 2007 onwards, will start after the entry into force of the European Constitution, which will give the Union and the member states shared responsibilities for space activities. As far as the funding of that space policy is concerned, the European Parliament's view is that resources allocation and the sharing of investments are the most sensitive issues, while recognising that the long-term objectives can only be achieved by means of Community projects involving a gradual increase in resources, which calls for a Community space budget.
  8. Finally, if Europe wishes to achieve autonomy in the space sector, international cooperation, far from being an obstacle, can offer a way forward. It was with a view to studying the possibilities for space cooperation between Europe and China that our Committee accepted the invitation from the Chinese authorities to visit that country in November 2003. In this report we propose to draw some conclusions from that visit.

II. The current state of cooperation

1. Cooperation at the institutional level: the Galileo programme

  1. The Galileo (satellite navigation) programme was launched by the EU Council of Transport Ministers in June 1999 with the support of the Nice European Council. The March 2002 Transport and Telecommunications Council approved the decision to commit 550 million euros to the programme's development and validation phase. That decision was followed by a period of uncertainty but finally, after lengthy discussions, the participating states agreed to contribute an additional 550 million euros, making a total budget of 1 100 million euros for the initial phase.
  2. According to information provided by the French Space Agency CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales), the Galileo programme is divided into the following phases:
  • development and validation phase, scheduled to end in 2005 and including the launch of an experimental satellite before June 2006 so as to protect the frequency applications filed by France with the International Telecommunications Union, followed by the launch of three Galileo satellites, with their requisite ground segment, and in-orbit validation of the services offered;
  • deployment phase, with a view to completing the constellation consisting of up to 30 satellites (beginning 2006-end 2007);
  • operational phase, in other words operations by the complete constellation together with its ground segment, scheduled to begin in 2008.
  1. The dates given are those of the original schedule, but since the first phase started two years late they will probably have to be adjusted accordingly. The estimated costs for the second and third phases are, respectively, 2 100 million and 220 million euros.
  2. Finally, following the decisions taken by the Council of Transport Ministers in March 2002 and the ESA Ministerial Council meeting in May 2003, the Galileo Joint Undertaking was set up by the European Space Agency and the Commission and tasked with: supervising the first phase of Galileo, ensuring optimum integration of EGNOS (the European programme augmenting the American GPS) in the Galileo programme and preparing the subsequent phases of the programme. The Undertaking delegated to ESA the responsibility for launching the first four satellites and for the in-orbit validation process.
  3. Furthermore, on 18 September 2003, China signed an agreement with the European Union on its participation in the Galileo programme. It is a well-known fact that the American (GPS) and Russian (GLONASS) systems are entirely controlled by their countries' military authorities, which have the power to downgrade signals at any moment if this is dictated by their interests. Conversely, Galileo is a 100% civil system, although the military authorities have the possibility of taking control in the event of a crisis. This rapprochement between Beijing and Brussels, according to the press4, was facilitated by China's decision to choose the European standard for its GSM mobile telephone technology. Another factor was the United States' constant refusal to allow Chinese participation in the International Space Station (ISS) project.
  4. According to the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport and energy, Mrs De Palacio, this agreement illustrates the great confidence that Galileo inspires all over the world. She hailed this partnership with China as a welcome development which should pave the way for future bilateral and regional agreements of mutual interest and allow cooperation in the fields of research and the development and application of technologies. However, this cooperation is not self-evident.
  5. Indeed, according to an article in the Financial Times5, the agreement could lead to close cooperation between Beijing and Brussels in the area of defence, a prospect likely to alarm the Pentagon and the US defence industry. According to the British newspaper, China might in the long run "decide to base some of its military hardware on Galileo's technology, which could lead to lucrative defence contracts for European companies". It quotes a Commission official as saying that China is "mainly interested in investing in the top end of Galileo, the Public Regulated Service (PRS), which will be used by police and security services and is expected eventually to play a role in the EU's budding defence structures".
  6. The Europeans, anxious to protect themselves against China's tendency to copy Western technologies (Le Monde, 27 September 2003), have included safeguard clauses in the agreement denying China access to certain segments of the satellites. A Centre for Safety and Security has been set up under the responsibility of the High Representative for the CFSP to act as an interface with the political authorities and, where appropriate, to coordinate with the United States in order to selectively and jointly jam the GPS and Galileo systems.
  7. China proposes financial participation in the Galileo programme to the tune of 200 million euros. Each of the 17 partners in the Galileo Joint Undertaking (the Fifteen EU member states - as they were prior to enlargement - plus Switzerland and Norway) contributes about 6% of the total of 3.4 billion, which corresponds in financial terms to the figure put forward by China. It proposes to allocate 60 million euros of that sum to the development and validation phase and 140 million euros to the deployment phase.
  8. For the moment the agreement would appear to be no more than an empty framework, and when it comes to fleshing out the detailed arrangements there are likely to be major problems not only within the Joint Undertaking, but also within the EU and, of course, vis-à-vis Europe's American allies. The issue of China's participation in the Public Regulated Service has still not been settled and will have to be resolved in consultation with the United States. Another question concerns China's proposal to use its Long March launch vehicle, which the United States considers would constitute a threat, many of the critical on-board components of the satellites being of American origin. The risk of Chinese industrial espionage is also an ongoing concern for the Western countries.
  9. Cooperation with China entails other difficulties too. First of all, we know very little about this country which, for a long time, was - and to a large extent remains - closed to the outside world. Secondly, China's system of political and above all industrial, bureaucratic and administrative organisation is totally different from our own. Nevertheless, if Europe has decided it wants cooperation, then this is because it has realised that it has neither the means nor the will to go it alone and cooperation offers the only way of moving forward.
  10. ESA and the Chinese Space Agency have been cooperating now for 20 years, but a new era of scientific cooperation with China was opened with the signing on 9 July 2001, at ESA's Paris headquarters, of an historic agreement between the European Space Agency and the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) on the joint implementation of the Double Star programme.
  11. Under the agreement concluded between the then Director General of ESA, Mr Antonio Rodotà, and the CNSA Administrator, Mr Luan Enjie, European experiments could for the first time be flown on Chinese satellites. Mr Rodotà described the agreement as "a significant advance for international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space. It is one of the most important landmarks in scientific collaboration since ESA and the People's Republic of China first agreed to exchange scientific information more than 20 years ago".
  12. Mr Luan Enjie for his part remarked that "the Double Star programme will be just the first step in substantial cooperation between the Chinese National Space Administration and ESA. The signing of today's agreement paves the way not only for reciprocal cooperation between scientists, but for the establishment of comprehensive cooperation between the two agencies".
  13. According to information from ESA, the Double Star project follows on from ESA's remarkable Cluster mission, since its purpose is to observe the sun's effects on the earth's environment. The joint observations conducted during the Cluster and Double Star missions will increase the overall scientific return from both missions. A key aspect of ESA's participation is the inclusion in the Double Star mission of ten instruments identical to those already flying on the four Cluster satellites. Chinese institutes will provide eight other experiments.
  14. Alberto Gianolio, in charge of the Double Star project at ESA, explained that by flying experiments identical to those on Cluster, it was possible to reduce costs and development time, and thereby to "minimise risk and help us to ensure that we are able to meet the spacecraft development schedule".
  15. ESA decided to co-finance the Double Star programme with a contribution of 8 million euros, to cover the refurbishment and pre-integration of the European instruments, acquisition of data for four hours a day and coordination of the scientific operations.
  16. Double Star is China's first mission to explore the earth's magnetosphere, the magnetic field surrounding our planet. As its name indicates, it consists of two satellites in complementary earth orbits, which are designed, developed, launched and operated by the CNSA. The resulting orbital configuration enables scientists to obtain simultaneous data on the changing magnetic field, as well as on the electric particles in the various regions of the magnetosphere.
  17. The satellites in this dual constellation were launched by Chinese Long March 2C rockets, one in December 2002 and the other in March 2003. That schedule should allow observations to be carried out in parallel with those of ESA's Cluster mission, composed of four identical satellites launched in the summer of 2000 into elliptical earth orbits.
  18. The "equatorial" satellite (DSP-1) is to be launched into another elliptical orbit of 550 x 60 000 km inclined at 28.5 degrees to the equator. This will enable it to observe the earth's huge magnetic tail, the region in which particles are accelerated under the effects of reconnection towards the earth's magnetic poles.
  19. The "polar" satellite (DSP-2) will essentially study the physical phenomena above the magnetic poles and the formation of aurorae. It will have a 350 x 25 000 km orbit and circle the earth in 7 hours and 18 minutes.
  20. Finally, ESA considers that China has enormous potential in the space field, but underlines the difficulties entailed by cooperation on precise programmes. It explains that general scientific cooperation does not pose the same legal and bureaucratic problems or raise the same issues of intellectual property rights. In any event cooperation with China will have to proceed step by step, and constantly take account of the problems linked with the use of critical American components in certain ESA projects, and especially in the Galileo programme.

The French Space Agency (CNES)

  1. The CNES (Centre national d'études spatiales) signed a cooperation agreement with China in 1994. The Franco-Chinese Joint Committee on Space is required to meet periodically (once a year) to identify possible areas of cooperation. Those identified to date concern observation facilities necessary for managing the risks in connection with natural disasters. A study of disasters in the Lower Mekong Delta is under way. Scientific cooperation in the area of space science is under discussion, as is possible cooperation on "geo-cruisers" for the observation of objects approaching earth from outer space to determine whether they represent a risk to the earth.
  2. Apart from fields where cooperation arrangements have yet to be defined, China has raised the possibility of working together on the Moon. But this has not met with much enthusiasm as ESA is already involved in work in that area. As China is not a member of the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), for the time being there cannot be cooperation over launchers. Lastly, it is also expected there will be cooperation in the area of crop surveillance using the French satellite SPOT-IV-Vegetation.
  3. The Franco-Chinese Joint Committee has also, at China's request, discussed cooperation over ultra-high resolution observation satellites, a proposal to which the CNES has not yet replied. Your Rapporteur has information to suggest that the joint committee meets only at France's request - which shows that the Chinese space authorities are apparently not particularly interested in meetings continuing systematically on a regular basis. While space cooperation with China holds genuine interest for Europe in the longer term, China for its part is looking for partnership on practical matters in the more immediate future.

2. Cooperation at the industrial level

(a) Alcatel
  1. Alcatel ranks third in the world and first in Europe for satellites. Altcatel Space, which has experience in civilian and military applications, develops models of telecommunications, navigation, radar and optical observation, meteorological and scientific satellites. According to information obtained from the company, Alcatel, which has had a presence in China since 1983, earns 10% of its consolidated income in that country. In 1984, it made its first delivery of components for Chinasat 1; in 1998, it supplied the Chinese satellite, Sinosat 1, launched the same year by the Long March rocket. In 2001, the contract was signed for the APSTAR VI satellites, whose launch (by Long March) is scheduled for 2004. Lastly, in 2002 Alcatel and CASC6 signed a cooperation agreement for the production of a Chinese communications satellite, with Alcatel Space supplying a payload mounted on the first Chinese high-capacity communications platform, DFH4. Signature took place in the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji and French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Alcatel Chairman Serge Tchuruk, the Chairman of the China Aerospace Corporation7, Zhang Qingwei, and the Chairman of Asia Pacific Telecom, Chen Zhao Bing. This contract is for the joint development of the first Chinese high-capacity communications satellite. This contract is a major feather in Alcatel's cap, and a breakthrough in the growing Asia-Pacific area market. For the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) the project marks a new era in the longstanding cooperation between Alcatel and China in the area of satellite technology.
  2. In years to come, Alcatel hopes to be able to work in partnership with China in the following areas: communications satellites, with CASC, for the domestic market, and occasionally for export with the Chinese aerospace industry (CASC and Long March); environmental monitoring and meteorology; satellite navigation (GALILEO and EGNOS) and bilateral cooperation in the area of satellite components.
  3. According to Christian Reinaudo, President of Alcatel Asia-Pacific, Shanghai-Alcatel is counting on a 30% growth in sales in China this year and hopes to double its turnover in the region over the next three years.
  4. Alcatel intends to invest some 145 million dollars in China in 2004, 100 million or so in research and development, comparable to the previous year. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for approximately 18% of Alcatel's turnover worldwide, which stood at 12.5 billion euros in 2003, and China accounts for approximately half the region's sales.
  5. Mr Reinaudo believes that it is impossible for an international company to ignore China. Two of Alcatel's ten largest customers worldwide and one of its four largest plants is in China.
  6. Parts manufacturers went through a difficult period when telecommunications operators cut back on investment in 2001. In that context, China, the world's biggest mobile telephone market in terms of numbers of users, proved a gold mine for them, even while they were selling off assets and closing down unprofitable operations elsewhere in the world.
  7. Alcatel, through its joint venture company Alcatel-Shanghai Bell, is looking to the long term in China, especially in terms of third-generation telephone communications which are likely to take off once licences have been awarded in 2004 or 2005.
  8. Mr Reinaudo also announced that exports from continental China were likely to increase by roughly 30% this year, reaching some 200 million euros. Alcatel exports a large range of products which are made in China, essentially to Africa and to other Asian countries, and most of its broad-band components sold in the United States are also of Chinese manufacture.
  9. Cooperation with China presents some problems, particularly in the area of observation satellites. These are regarded as warfare equipment by France's Interministerial Committee on the export of war equipment, which has to be informed when equipment is to be sold to China. However, it stands to reason that if China is seeking to procure metric observation instruments, it will obtain them either from its strategic defence allies, or by building them itself, probably over the medium term or through trade with other countries such as Russia, Israel or Brazil.
  10. As far as the Galileo programme goes, apart from strategic issues such as the degree of Chinese involvement in the programme, there are industrial property issues to contend with. The Galileo patents cannot be used outside the programme. China's funding commitment, which in principle was intended for expenditure in China, is likely to raise difficulties that could be avoided if the funding went to European companies established in China, like Alcatel-Shanghai, which would be able to protect European intellectual property rights under the programme.
(b) The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)
  1. EADS is Europe's leading aerospace equipment company and the world's second largest. Its areas of activity include commercial and military aviation, space, defence systems and consultancy services. EADS came into being on 10 July 2000 as a result of the merger of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (Germany), Aerospatiale Matra (France) and CASA (Spain). EADS had a turnover for 2003 of 30 133 billion euros. However, it is barely present in China, although it has a substantial presence in the United States and Japan. Initial cooperation took place through the Sinosat 1 project and, as part of it, EADS supplied satellite components and provided training.
  2. In 1993-1994, DASA and CASC formed a new company called EuraSpace, in order to develop a spacecraft. The system was 90% funded by German banks and the European associates agreed that the assembly and testing of the new Sinosat 1 should take place in China.
  3. Later, Aerospatiale built Sinosat 1 in its Cannes workshops, and the satellite was delivered to the customer, EuraSpace (China-Germany) acting on behalf of Sinosatcom, a Chinese company, in November 1997. This was the fifth satellite to be fitted with the Spacebus 3000 platform.
  4. It was launched by Long March 3B, from the Xichang, China, launch site, in July 1998. The satellite provides a range of telecoms services: television, telephony and transmission of interbank data across China, Indo-China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The satellite transmits data for the People's Bank of China, one of Sinosatcom's major customers.
  5. Sinosat 1 was to have been followed by Sinosat 2 but the cooperation project did not materialise. Meetings were held in Munich and Beijing in a search for new partners for the Chinese satellite, through EuraSpace. Eventually, the possibility dawned of another partnership, this time between China and EADS, for the Entelsat programme, but this too ultimately failed to materialise. Other joint projects have come to grief, notably in the field of orbital infrastructure (ISS systems), because of United States opposition to Chinese involvement. Cooperation in space science and in space-based observation is also being studied. In this last field, even taking account of the complexity inherent in the (civil-military) dual-use status of the systems, EADS has said it would be willing to cooperate with China on the same basis as with Taiwan - a partnership which has found little favour with China. EADS, moreover, is waiting for the details of the agreements on the Galileo programme, which could still be possible in areas such as software. The ground segment in the Galileo programme is very important as a multiplier of the signal received from the satellite, thus bringing in more customers from China interested in using the system. One problem EADS raises in relation to this partnership is the question mark that hangs over Chinese technology standards in some areas and the schedules envisaged for the completion of programmes.

III. China's aerospace capabilities

1. China's space successes

  1. China launched its first satellite, DFG-1 in 1970. However, the issue of manned spaceflight had been included in the country's 1966-1975 Development Plan from May 1966. The design of the FSW space module, launched from an LM-2C rocket, was completed in September 1967. It was able to carry a human being into space (5-day flight) or a high-resolution camera. In March 1968, the Mechanical Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences completed the studies and tests necessary for the design of a recoverable capsule. In April 1968, the plan was handed over to the Defence Ministry. The Institute of Biophysics then merged with the Institute of Physiology of the Military College of Medicine to form the new Institute of Space Medicine. Between October 1970 and March 1971, the Air Force selected 19 pilots from 1 000 applicants and in May 1971, it opened its training centre for the Shuguang 1 flight (project 714) due to take place in late 1973. However, in September 1971, the Chinese Prime Minister purged part of the army leadership whom he accused of planning a coup d'etat. Project 714 was then called into question by Mao Tse Tung, and abandoned once and for all in May 1972. The first satellite of this kind was launched in November 1974 but failed. It was not until 20 years after a halt was called to project 714 that project 921 (known as Dhenzhou) got off the ground. In 1991, the Chinese did the round of Russian firms and seven years later produced a Soyuz copy. The flight of the first prototype took place in November 1999.
  2. On 31 October 2000, China launched its first navigation satellite from its Xi Chang base from a Long March LM 3A vehicle. This will complete the network of satellites of the same type that exists already around the world (American GPS and Russian GLONASS).
  3. On 25 May 2003, China launched the Beidou 2A navigation satellite, the first of the series, putting the finishing touches to its positioning system that would bring up to date its transport and telecommunications networks and its weapons programmes. The launch vehicle was a Long March 3A fired from the Xichang Centre in Szechwan (south-west China). The guidance system thus set up in space will enable users on the ground to know their position at all times anywhere in the world, with exact measurements of longitude, latitude and altitude.
  4. 21 October 2003 saw the second Sino-Brazilian earth observation satellite CBERS 2 put into orbit from the Taiyuan base by a CZ 4B launcher. The first of these satellites had been launched in October 1999. On 3 November 2003, China launched a recovery satellite, from its Jiuquan base, using a CZ 2D launcher, for conducting microgravity tests. This made use of a new concrete platform alongside the metal structures of the CZ 2F Shenzhou.
  5. On 14 November 2003, the Zhongxing 20 military communications satellite (2 300 kg) was launched by CZ 3A from the Xichang base. This is China's 73rd launch since 1970 and the 32nd consecutive launch since October 1996. On 30 December 2003, China launched a Long March CZ 2C from its Xichang base carrying the first Sino-European satellite: the Tan Ce 1 (Double Star 1, DSP-E) referred to earlier. Part of the Cluster 2 programme, this 300 kg satellite will observe the sun's effect on the earth's environment. It will move in an elliptical earth orbit of between 550km and 63 780 km inclined at an angle of 28.5˚ to the equator. A second is due to be put into orbit in June 2004.
  6. On 16 October 2003, the Shenzhou-5 module with its pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Yang Liwei, made a soft landing in Inner Mongolia after orbiting the earth 14 times. Forty-five years after its first venture into space, China's first manned space flight went off smoothly and China became the first nation to put a human being into orbit around the earth since the Soviet Union and the United States first did so forty years previously. It was a text-book launch.
  7. According to a Chinese expert, 55 new technological applications were incorporated for the first time in the design and manufacture of the Long March LM-2 F designed to launch China's first manned space capsule. According to Huang Chunping, the Commander-in-Chief of the rocket systems for China's manned space flight programme, the Long March LM-2 F is an adapted version of the Long March LM-2 E incorporating the technical requirements for manned flight and includes new technological applications such as fault-detection and emergency back-up systems. The launcher's technical parameters are on a par with the most advanced international standards.
  8. The launcher is 58.3 metres in length and has a 479.8-tonne payload. It is the longest and heaviest of the Chinese-developed launchers, according to Mr Huang. This type of launcher has already successfully delivered four habitable Shenzhou modules into orbit. It is regarded as the superior member of the family of launchers of Chinese manufacture in terms of technical performance, reliability and safety.
  9. In January 2004, China's technological superiority was confirmed by its carrying out no less than five successful launches, including two test launches (nos. 3 and 4) of the Shenzhou habitable space capsule (No 4 is still in orbit today) from a CZ-2F. The year 2003 saw the first manned launch, while Europe has not even begun work on its manned programme. Other CX-4B launches have put observation and weather satellites in orbit. However, the initial launch failed of the Kaitzuozhe 1 small launcher, using solid propellant (powder) - which was intended to be the start of a family. It should be noted that none of the Chinese launches carried out in 2002 carried a commercial payload.

2. Space potential - China sets its sights on Mars and the Moon

  1. After the success of the Shenzhou 5 manned flight, already an ambitious undertaking, another dimension was added to China's space programme. China is up there with the other space powers with their interplanetary sights trained on the conquest of Mars, and is open about its desire to make it both to the Moon and to the red planet.
  2. At the dawn of the 21st century, China wants to become an influential player, if not to have global power status, by exploiting its undersea, underground, air and space resources, to strengthen its defence and develop its economy. And finally, it is seeking to give this last great design a human dimension by putting human beings at the heart of its space concerns.
  3. China in fact intends to bring forward by a year its launch of a satellite into orbit around the Moon, which will take three-dimensional pictures of the lunar surface. The flight is currently scheduled for 2006. The 140 kg payload will be aboard a Dongfanghong 3 satellite launched from a Long March 3. Luan Enjie, the Space Programme Director, explained that the satellite, auxiliary systems and launcher are already in the process of being developed. Take-off will be from Xichang in the south-west Szechwan province. The Chang'e lunar programme is named after a Chinese goddess, supposed to have flown to the Moon. The Chinese want to put an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon in 2010. Following that, in 2020, China wants to send another spacecraft to collect samples of the Moon's surface, in preparation for setting up a moon-base. In addition, 2005 should see Shenzhou 6 in flight, possibly with more than one astronaut aboard.

3. The world's third space power

  1. Although it is premature to speculate about China as a third space power, there is no doubt at all that it is in the process of acquiring the means to become a power capable of having independent space access, peopling the earth's immediate environment, engaging its research scientists in an inspiring scientific programme and implementing space technology applications likely to have beneficial spin-offs for the everyday lives of Chinese people.
  2. There is also no doubt that in the short term China will derive maximum advantage from the economic and sociological spin-offs expected from its ambitious programme. The former USSR and the United States in their time benefited from the Moon race in which both superpowers were engaged. The United States, to a greater extent than the Soviet Union, took a massive leap forward, making them the greatest space and economic power on earth.
  3. The Chinese leadership is expecting a large number of spin-offs on the commercial launcher market. China will certainly go on seeking international partnerships and become more involved in such problem areas as climate change affecting the planet. China recently became a partner in the European Galileo project and has made no secret of its wish to take part in the building programme for the international space station, notwithstanding opposition from the United States.

IV. Strategic issues

  1. European Commissioner Philippe Busquin visited China from 6 to 11 April 2004, accompanied by a delegation composed of high-ranking executives from aerospace companies. The Commissioner and the Chinese Minister for Science and Technology signed a joint declaration stressing their mutual commitment to deepening scientific and technological cooperation. They also announced the creation of a high-level steering group on EU-China space cooperation.
  2. The EU Council had welcomed the strategy document issued by China a few days prior to the bilateral EU-China summit on 30 October 2003 in Beijing. In that document China announced its intention to make the EU its leading international partner for trade and investments, and called on the EU to lift its embargo on arms sales to China in order to remove all obstacles to more extensive bilateral cooperation in the defence sector (industry and technologies). EU officials, it should be said, have described such a decision to lift this embargo as being highly unlikely in the near future. On 18 December 2003 the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the EU to maintain the arms embargo imposed in 1989. The EU foreign affairs ministers, meeting on 26 April 2004, took the view for their part that a decision to lift the embargo should not be precipitated.
  3. During his visit to China, Mr Busquin queried whether the Chinese really wanted to engage in space cooperation, given that their space programme is controlled by the military authorities. In answer to a question about the need for safeguards with regard to military applications, the Commissioner replied these were not necessary in this case, given that the applications were civil ones, but that this was a debate that would have to take place for Galileo. He stressed that the European states had encountered the same problem with the American GPS system, to which they had not been granted full access, and that it would certainly not be an obstacle. Finally, he pointed out that certain technologies, such as the nanotechnologies, could not simply be transferred overnight. However, leaving aside the Galileo programme, the EU and China could well become partners in earth observation programmes.
  4. In the preceding chapters we have stressed the need for Europe to acquire autonomous space capabilities and independent access to space. That being said, the Technological and Aerospace Committee has always argued that those capabilities must be interoperable with those of our allies and partners and it has for a long time been calling for sound strategic cooperation with other countries in the space sector. Europe has neither the technologies, nor the means, nor the political will to do everything on its own. Cooperation is therefore imperative if it wishes to make progress in this area, which is so vital for it to maintain its position as a world power.
  5. The problem is that we cannot cooperate with everyone. We have to make choices, and those choices must be compatible. Europe has decided to cooperate with China, a country which offers undeniable advantages, such as its advanced technologies in certain areas and a huge potential market. At the same time, however, there are problems, some of which are in practice insurmountable. Firstly, the possibilities for cooperation with China fall outside the ESDP framework. Secondly, we do not fully understand our partner (in terms of organisation, working methods etc.) since, as mentioned above, the Chinese space sector is controlled by the army, which could create insuperable barriers. Finally, our transatlantic ally and our Chinese partner for the moment have incompatible interests.
  6. Some thirty critical components for the Galileo system must currently be procured from the United States. Furthermore, China wants an industrial return on its participation in the programme. How do we reconcile those two positions? Galileo is the most important European space project ever, and, for the first time, the whole of Europe is prepared to invest at the same time. There are costs linked with distributing the work of that programme and a number of countries, while considering Chinese participation to be a positive element, are concerned that it could nevertheless destabilise the programme.
  7. Finally, if Europe pursues cooperation with China on the Galileo programme, we run the risk of encountering opposition from the United States, which could mean having to envisage the possibility of producing the critical components ourselves, unless a way can be found of reconciling everyone's interests before the United States decides to adopt retaliatory measures in other areas.
  8. As explained above, cooperation between the EU and China on the Galileo programme is for the moment confined to a framework agreement which has yet to be fleshed out, and all options remain open. Your Rapporteur will need to follow up this cooperation as the details become clear. The Committee should therefore consider drafting a further report on this issue when the negotiations are sufficiently advanced to allow a more in-depth analysis.

DRAFT RESOLUTION

on aerospace cooperation between Europe and China

      The Assembly,

  1. Noting China's enormous potential in the space sector, both in scientific and technological terms and in terms of the market;
  2. Considering in particular China's recent achievements in the field of satellite launches and manned space flights;
  3. Recalling the fruitful cooperation that has existed for twenty years between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese National Space Authority (CNSA) in the fields of space-based earth observation and the launch of observation satellites, and in particular their more recent cooperation on the "Double Star" programme;
  4. Considering the importance of the Agreement concluded between the European Union and China on China's participation in the Galileo satellite navigation programme and the problems encountered with the practical implementation of that Agreement due to its security implications;
  5. Considering also the development of bilateral cooperation between China and a number of EU member states, and between China and the European and international space industries;
  6. Recalling that the EU's aim of acquiring greater autonomy in the space sector could be furthered by international cooperation, including with China, and that the EU has expressed the intention of developing its strategic partnership with that country;
  7. Considering, nevertheless, that fruitful cooperation between Europe and China would be greatly facilitated if China:
    • showed greater transparency in its objectives and in the information it gives on its
      space programmes;
    • decided to formally join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR);
    • made greater efforts to reach an understanding with the United States in order to overcome its opposition to China's participation in the International Space Station (ISS);
  8. Recalling that it is first and foremost up to China to establish the appropriate conditions, in particular as regards its human rights situation and application of the Code of Conduct on arms exports, for enabling the EU embargo on arms exports to that country to be lifted,

      I. INVITES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO:

    1. Pursue its evaluation of the conditions in which the EU embargo on arms exports to China could be lifted;

    2. Exert pressure on China to formally join the MTCR and to show greater transparency and provide more information on its programmes and intentions in the space sector;

    3. Establish a regular parliamentary dialogue with China on space cooperation, and support the efforts the European industry is making to develop such cooperation;

    4. Maintain a regular transatlantic dialogue on the implications of including China in international space cooperation,

      II. INVITES THE STATES PARTICIPATING IN THE GALILEO PROGRAMME TO:

    1. Determine the elements of the Galileo programme on which there could be cooperation with China and identify the problems that might arise with such cooperation, with a view to finding appropriate solutions;

    2. Encourage space cooperation between Europe and China in the industrial, scientific and technological areas;

    3. Call on China to set up a civilian space structure equivalent to that of Europe.


AMENDMENT8

AMENDMENT 1

tabled by Mr Atkinson

    1. At the end of recital (vii) of the preamble to the draft resolution, add:

    "- ratified the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;"

      Signed: Atkinson


1 Adopted unanimously by the Assembly on 3 June 2004 (4th sitting) on the basis of the amended draft resolution.

2 Assembly Document 1738 of 20 June 2001, on "A joint European space strategy: security and defence aspects", Rapporteur Mr Maass;
http://www.assembly-weu.org/en/documents/sessions_ordinaires/rpt/2001/1738.pdf .

3 Council Resolution on the European space strategy, December 1999 Bulletin.

4 Le Monde, 27 September 2003.

5 Financial Times, 19 September 2003.

6 China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

7 Parent body of CAST.

8 See 4th sitting, 3 June 2004 (amendment adopted).

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