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China to launch lunar exploration in 2007

The ministry will invite experts to discuss budget requirements and the feasibility of these projects.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 23:41 IST

China will launch its third manned space flight, first lunar exploration and a number of other science and technology initiatives this year, Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua announced in Beijing on Monday.

"These key projects are vital to upgrading China's innovation capacity and consequently its economic competitiveness," he said.

The ministry will invite experts to discuss budget requirements and the feasibility of these projects. Several projects will be getting underway by the end of this year, said Xu.

Large planes, a new generation of wireless communications and exploration of large oil and gas fields will also be high on the government's agenda.

Xu pledged to implement several other important projects in fields such as renewable energy and the environment, to help solve the pressing difficulties in attaining economic and social development.

In its national guidelines for medium- and long-term science and technology development, China vowed to make breakthroughs in key state projects over the next 15 years. It promised to invest public and private funds into a variety of projects covering energy resources, agriculture space exploration and research on protein and nanotechnology.

Earlier, Xu noted that China's investment in research and development (R&D) rose 22 per cent last year accounting for 1.4 per cent of the country's GDP.

Industrialisation of high-technology grew rapidly and the performance of high-tech products on the international market improved significantly, he said, adding that science and technology was making a greater contribution to economic and social development.