China to join E.U.’s Galileo project

The European Union and China have agreed to collaborate to develop the Galileo global satellite navigation system, the European Commission said Thursday.

Galileo will be Europe’s equivalent of the U.S. military-run Global Positioning System. The European system is being developed by the European Space Agency primarily for civilian use, and will revolutionize the telecoms, transportation, agriculture and fishing industries, the Commission claims.

“China will help Galileo to become the major world infrastructure for the growing market for location services,” said Loyola de Palacio, vice president of the European Commission, responsible for the Galileo program.

“China supports Galileo and plans to participate actively in its construction and application for mutual benefits,” said her counterpart in the negotiations, China Science and Technology Minister Xu Guanhua.

Governments of the member states of the 15-member Union gave the Commission the green light to open formal negotiations with China in March. Thursday’s conclusive talks were headed by Shi Dinghuan, general secretary of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Fran