Footage broadcast live on television showed a rocket blasting off with the satellite from a mountainous region of southwest China, which state media hailed as another milestone in the country’s space programme.
The Beidou system — named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation –- works on a network of about 30 satellites and competes with the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.
“I think the Beidou-3 system being operational is a big event,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said.
“This is a big investment from China and makes China independent of US and European systems.”
The final satellite, the Beidou-3GEO3, will help improve the network’s accuracy.
China started building the system in the early 1990s to help cars, fishing boats and military tankers navigate using mapping data from the country’s own satellites.
Now the service can be used on millions of mobile phones to find nearby restaurants, petrol stations or cinemas, and to guide taxis.
In 2012, Beidou’s coverage entered commercial use in the Asia-Pacific region, becoming available worldwide in 2018.
Around 120 countries, including Pakistan and Thailand, use the services for port traffic monitoring, guiding post-disaster rescue operations and other uses, according to Chinese state media.
Beijing is counting on its trillion-dollar Belt and Road global infrastructure project to convince other countries to use its technology as it attempts to grab market share from GPS.
China’s geolocation services market is expected to be worth 400 billion yuan ($56.4 billion) in this year, a senior official told state media.
The global geolocation services market will be worth $146.4 billion by 2025, according to San Francisco-based Grand View Research.
– Accuracy –
Analysts said Beidou was already outperforming GPS in terms of accuracy, but it still had a long way to go before overtaking its American rival as the world’s dominant geolocation system.
McDowell said he did not think Beidou would be able to “supplant GPS in the next 10 or even 20 years”
Carter Palmer, a space systems analyst at US-based consultancy Forecast International, said there were still questions over Beidou’s reliability but its accuracy was a big selling point.
“What I do see is (users) using multiple systems, including Beidou, to have more accurate satellite navigation,” he said.
The completion of the Beidou network will also be of benefit to China’s military.
China has poured about $10 billion into the Beidou system, to keep the communication networks of the country’s military secure and avoid the risk of disruption.
“Technically, Beidou is capable of replacing GPS, for example in wartime if the United States cuts off access to GPS in China,” said Chen Lan, an analyst specialising in the Chinese space programme.
China’s military also uses it to guide missiles and fly drones.
Xi: China Firmly Supports Global Economic Recovery, Free Trade
Xi Jinping delivers speech at WEF Davos Agenda 2021 via video link
‘Winter cannot stop the arrival of spring’
Xi stressed that there is no doubt that humanity will prevail over the coronavirus and emerge even stronger from this disaster.
“The pandemic is far from over. The recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases reminds us that we must carry on the fight,” Xi said.
“Yet we remain convinced that winter cannot stop the arrival of spring and darkness can never shroud the light of dawn,” he said.
“Containing the coronavirus is the most pressing task for the international community,” Xi said in his speech.
It is important to scale up cooperation in vaccine development, production and distribution, and make it truly accessible and affordable to people across the world, he stressed.
‘Arrogance, prejudice and hatred ring alarm’
“Difference in itself is no cause for alarm,” Xi said. “What does ring the alarm is arrogance, prejudice and hatred.”
He warned against the attempt to impose a hierarchy on human civilization or to force one’s own history, culture and social system upon others.
“The right choice is for countries to pursue peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and on expanding common ground while shelving differences, and to promote exchanges and mutual learning. This is the way to add impetus to the progress of human civilization,” Xi said.
‘Small circles,’ ‘new Cold War’ only lead to division, confrontation
To build small circles or start a new Cold War will only push the world into division and even confrontation, Xi warned.
He also warned against rejecting, threatening or intimidating others, willfully imposing decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, as well as creating isolation or estrangement.
Safeguarding legitimate development interests of developing countries
The international community should keep its eye on the long run, honor its commitment and provide the necessary support to developing countries and safeguard their legitimate development interests, Xi stressed in his speech.
Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules should be strengthened so that all countries will benefit from the opportunities and fruits of development, Xi said.
Sci-tech innovation a key engine for human progress
“Scientific and technological innovation is a key engine for human progress, a powerful weapon in tackling many global challenges, and the only way for China to foster a new development paradigm and achieve high-quality development,” Xi said.
China will think and act with more openness with regards to international exchanges and cooperation on science and technology, join hands with all countries to create an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for science and technology that is beneficial to all and shared by all, he pledged.
Click here for the live coverage of this event.
(With input from Xinhua)
President Xi To Attend WEF Davos Agenda: Spokesperson
Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Davos Agenda of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 25 from Beijing via video link, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that Xi will attend the meeting and deliver a special speech at the invitation of Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.
In January 2017, Xi addressed the opening session of the WEF annual meeting, systematically expounding China’s views and propositions on economic globalization, and voicing strong support for economic globalization, Hua said.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading globally at present, the world economy is in deep recession, and global challenges are emerging one after another, Hua hoped and believed the upcoming WEF meeting would help build global consensus, rebuild global mutual trust, boost global cooperation, and contribute to solving the pressing global issues facing the international community.
China has always been committed to upholding and practicing multilateralism, promoting the construction of an open world economy, making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and promoting the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind, she added.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, China will continue to contribute its wisdom and strength to global cooperation against COVID-19, world economic recovery, meeting global challenges, and improving global governance, Hua said.
Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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