China on Tuesday congratulated India on the successful launch of lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 and hoped that the two South Asian countries would collaborate over outer space exploration.
Congratulating India, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said exploration of outer space, including the Moon, is the common cause of all human beings and they should contribute to the welfare of all people. “So, congratulations. We have noted the relevant reports and we welcome the successful launch of this probe by India,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing in response to a question.
“China is committed to the peaceful use of outer space and we actively engaged in international communication and cooperation on the issue,” she said.
“We would like to work with India for outer space exploration to deliver more benefits to mankind,” she said.
Hours after the launch on Monday, China’s lunar exploration programme chief Wu Weiren wished Chandrayaan-2 a success and said China, which is actively pursuing its own moon mission, is not in competition with any other country in planning its space missions.
State-run Global Times quoted Wu as saying that the Moon exploration missions by India, Israel and the US will act as a motivation for China to further develop its lunar probe mission.
“The international trend will not play a decisive role in China’s planning on its lunar missions, and China is not going to compete with anyone over the matter,” Wu said.
But at the same time, Chinese space scientists have kept a close watch on India’s past space exploration missions especially after India successfully sent Mangalyaan probe to Mars in 2013.
In January this year, China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon. The rover Yutu-2 then rolled off the lander to explore its surroundings. Chandrayaan-2 is also India’s first attempt to soft landing on the Moon’s surface.
Following into Chandrayaan-2’s footsteps, China also announced plans to explore South Pole of the Moon with its later unmanned missions.
China is planning several space missions, including to Mars, by 2020 as well as building its own space station by 2022. Last month, India also announced plans to build its own human space station “Gaganyaan” in the next five to seven years.
The two countries are also planning manned missions to Moon.
India on Monday successfully launched its second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 on board its powerful rocket GSLV-MkIII-M1 from the spaceport in Sriharikota to explore the unchartered South Pole of the celestial body by landing a rover.
(With inputs from PTI)