BEIJING — China signed a $30-million contract today to launch an American-built satellite, and officials said few obstacles remain in the way of Beijing's goal of entering the lucrative commercial space market.
The scheduled 1990 launch of the telecommunications satellite Asiasat 1 has been overshadowed by claims in the U.S. that technological secrets could be leaked to Beijing during launches of Western satellites and that China's low prices are unfair competition.
Terry Seddon, head of Asia Satellite Communications, told a news conference in the Great Hall of the People that agreements on satellite security and pricing signed by the United States and China late last year have allayed such fears.
The United States has granted the satellite an export license and a meeting of Cocom--a body which examines technology transfers to communist countries--will discuss it later this month, he said. "We anticipate the results will be favorable."
China has invited journalists and diplomats to its once top-secret Xichang launch site in the mountains of Sichuan province, in the hope of attracting more foreign custom for its Long March 3 carrier rockets.