China says cooperation with U.S. on lunar samples depends on U.S. policy

BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — China is willing to cooperate with the United States on the scientific study of its new lunar samples, but whether such cooperation takes place depends on the policy of the U.S. government, according to an official from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Thursday.

China is open to cooperation with governmental agencies, enterprises and institutions, as well as scientists and engineers, from the United States, on the basis of mutual benefit and the peaceful use of space, said Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the CNSA, at a press conference on the Chang’e-5 lunar mission.

Outer-space resources are the common wealth of mankind, according to the Outer Space Treaty, and the Chinese government will follow that treaty, Wu said.

The return capsule of China’s Chang’e-5 probe touched down on Earth in the early hours of Thursday, bringing back the country’s first samples collected from the moon, as well as the world’s freshest lunar samples in over 40 years.

The Chinese government is willing to share lunar samples and relevant exploration data with institutions and scientists all over the world for scientific analysis, Wu said.

Unfortunately, in 2011, the U.S. Congress passed a law known as the Wolf Amendment, prohibiting U.S. government agencies, including NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, from cooperating with China on space activities, Wu said.

“Whether there will be cooperation depends on the policy of the U.S. government,” he added.

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