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China says it will train astronauts from other nations, share expertise

Chinese astronauts (from left to right) Wang Yaping, Zhang Xiaoguang and Nie Haisheng wave before leaving for the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft mission at Jiuquan satellite launch center in Jiuquan, Gansu province on June 11. The Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.China Daily Information Corp / Reuters

BEIJING - China aims to train astronauts from other countries who will conduct missions with their Chinese counterparts, state news agency Xinhua cited a senior official as saying on Monday.

China will also share the technological achievements of its manned space program with other countries, especially with developing ones, Xinhua quoted Wang Zhaoyao, head of the country's manned space program office, as saying.

"Cooperation should be either bilateral or multilateral, with diversified and flexible models based on peace and a win-win cooperation," he said.

The move will happen "at a proper time," Wang told an international seminar in Beijing. Xinhua gave no other details.

China successfully completed its latest manned space mission in June, when three astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory critical in Beijing's quest to build a working space station by 2020.

China is still far behind established space superpowers, the United States and Russia, which decades ago learned the docking techniques China is only now mastering.

It is already working with Russia in the field of astronaut training, has a cooperative relationship with the European Space Agency and has begun talking to its opposite numbers in the United States, Wang added.

Beijing insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities and said Beijing is pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Wang said that China "will consistently adhere to the principle of peaceful use, equality, mutual benefit and common development in the construction of its manned space station".

China aims to land its first probe on the moon at the end of this year.