WASHINGTON (AFP) Oct 12, 2005
The United States on Wednesday congratulated China on launching its second manned space mission and welcomed any effort to make peaceful use of space.
Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli made no direct mention of concerns that the Chinese could exploit the cosmos for military purposes after opening a new chapter in its effort to become a player in space.
"We obviously congratulate China on the successful launch of its second manned space mission," Ereli said. "Furthermore we would applaud China and its success as only the third country to launch people into space.
"Our view is that the peaceful use of space is something that is appropriate and we welcome China's developments in this area."
Separately, the head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also hailed China's launch of its second manned space mission, saying it reaffirmed the country's place among the space "elite".
"China, once again, has demonstrated that it is among the elite number of countries capable of human space flight," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a brief statement.
"We wish them well on their mission, and we look forward to the safe return of their astronauts."
China launched the spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, with two astronauts aboard, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 9:00 am (0100 GMT) Wednesday for a five-day mission.
The flight came just two years after the country's first manned space flight which carried one astronaut.
All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.