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Pakistan, China to establish space technology org.

Pakistan, China to establish space technology organization next month

BEIJING, August 30 (APP): Pakistan, China and some other regional countries will formally launch Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) next month for making joint efforts to develop space technology. APSCO is being set up to promote capabilities of the member countries in several areas of space technology applications, said Muhammad Nasim Shah, senior adviser Asia Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA). In an interview with APP special correspondent Javed Akhtar in Beijing, he said five Asia-Pacific countries, China, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand and Peru have already conveyed approval of their respective Parliaments and the Governments to sign APSCO Convention and to become its members.

"We are now negotiating with Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine and it is hoped they will also soon give their consent to join this important regional body, " he added. Nasim Shah said, the countries agreed to formation of APSCO will hold ministerial-level meeting in Beijing, most likely by the end of September. It's formal launching will also be announced on this occasion. As per the Article-29 of the Convention, the APSCO will come into force when at least five States of the Asia-Pacific Region, which are members of the United Nations, signed it and have deposited with the host Government their instruments of ratification or acceptance.

Recently, the Government of Argentina has also approved the Convention and requested for granting the Observer's status, since it is located outside the geographic region of APSCO. The Governments of Brazil and Ukraine have informed that they were also interested in joining the organization as Associate Members/Observers. Other governments of Asia-Pacific countries are reportedly reviewing the Convention and the procedure of approval is in progress in their Parliaments, Nasim Shah added. China, being a host country has offered to provide full financial support for the establishment and operation of the APSCO until 2006.

As such, the member States are not under any obligation to make financial contributions during the preparatory phase. However, they will be required to pay their financial contributions from the year 2007. Nasim Shah, former secretary SUPARCO played a pioneering role in preparing Charter and Convention of the proposed Asia-Pacific Space Agency. He was retired from SUPARCO last year and joined the AP-MCSTA Secretariat to help in accomplishing various tasks relating to APSCO.

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