China is keen to be part of an international space station project that already counts leading space powers like the United States and Russia as its members, a government official said Tuesday.
China takes great pride in its burgeoning space program and sees it as a way to validate its claims to be one of the world's leading scientific nations.
"We hope to take part in activities related to the international space station," Li Xueyong, a vice minister of science and technology. "If I am not mistaken, this program has 16 countries currently involved and we hope to be the 17th partner."
China doesn't participate in the International Space Station, due in part to American unease about allowing a communist dictatorship a place aboard.