China and Argentina have resumed plans to work together on outer space exploration in a sign of the Asian nation’s growing influence in the administration of President Alberto Fernández.
The two countries will cooperate in the development of ships and other instruments for space exploration, as well as land infrastructure to launch and control space missions and satellites, according to an agreement published in the Official Gazette on Friday.
The deal has been in effect since July 24, according to the publication, which says all space exploration shall have peaceful intention.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg News that the deal is now in effect.
As part of the negotiations, Argentina has already allowed China to build a 494-acre (two square kilometres) space station in the country’s Neuquén province, in Patagonia. The land where the station stands was granted to the Chinese in 2012, for 50 years.
Initial agreements for space exploration had been signed with China in 2012 and 2015 during the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. They stalled during the administration of president Mauricio Macri, who sought to restore relations with the United States. Now that Fernández is Kirchner returned to the government as vice-president, the deal is moving forward again.
It calls for the two countries to exchange data, research findings, academics and create a sub-committee led by officials from both sides. The Argentine government’s space unit, CONAE, will collaborate with its Chinese counterpart, CNSA.
The agreement comes as Argentina and China renewed on Thursday an existing currency swap line that bolsters the South American country’s foreign reserves. The swap line is worth 130 billion yuan (US$18.7 billion). The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said it was a coincidence that the two announcements came in the same week, citing bureaucratic delays in the space deal.
by Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg