Pakistan joins China’s club of lunar base partners

BEIJING (Reuters) – Pakistan has joined China’s expanding club of partners in an ambitious project to build a research station on the moon’s south pole.

Jointly with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar witnessed the signing of an initial cooperation agreement in Beijing on Wednesday.

The China National Space Administration said on Friday cooperation would cover areas including the engineering and operational aspects of the Chinese lunar base programme.

China, which aims to become a major space power by 2030, has already secured cooperation from Russia, Venezuela and South Africa.

It has fixed a target to land its astronauts on the moon by the end of this decade.

The timeline to build an outpost on the south pole coincides with NASA’s more ambitious Artemis programme, which aims to put U.S. astronauts back on the lunar surface in December 2025, barring delays.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo, editing by Deborah Kyvrikosaios)