The pair will sign the new space ‘Cooperation Program’ next year and it will run from 2023 to 2027. It will reportedly include a plan to create an International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) by 2035. It will also include plans to support the development of the ground segment of the two countries’ national satellite systems.
This will come through Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS, the Global Times reported.
It will see Russia’s Roscosmos and the China National Space Agency (CNSA) work together for years to come.
It will counter the US US lunar exploration project known as the “Artemis Accords,” which will launch its first crewed mission in 2025.
Beijing and Moscow plan to create the ILRS by 2035, with e experimental and research facilities for a wide range of scientific work operating in lunar orbit in the meantime.
Roscosmos said that China and Russia are working on a draft of a legally binding intergovernmental agreement on the project, which is due to be signed in 2022.
They added: “A particular feature of this project is the openness to participation by other international partners.”
Danil Bochkov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, told the Global Times that Moscow “expects space-research initiatives to be more open and cooperative, not facilitating ‘NATO-in-space’ political projects.”
He added: “It is exemplified by such outstanding initiatives of bilateral cooperation as the International Lunar Research Station, which also comes with foreign policy implications.
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While Ukraine is not a Nato member, it has close ties with the bloc.
Russia has said it wants legally binding guarantees that Nato will not move eastwards and that weapons will not be sent to Ukraine or any neighbouring countries.
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has been adamant that Ukraine’s membership of the alliance is a matter for Nato and Kyiv.
He said: “Any dialogue with Russia has of course to respect the core principles which European security has been based on.”