Chinas first astronaut to visit UN
A delegation of China"s first manned space mission, including its first astronaut Yang Liwei, is scheduled to begin a visit to the United Nations on Wednesday at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Chinese space officials said in Beijing Tuesday.
Yang is scheduled to present Annan two UN flags that have been to space aboard China"s home-made spaceship Shenzhou-V in its first manned space voyage last October, said the officials.
The two flags, including one 180 cm by 120 cm and a smaller one, 15 cm by 10 cm, were delivered to Chinese space workers at the UN Vienna Office on Sept. 4, 2003.
Yang displayed the miniatures of the UN flag and the Chinese national flag while orbiting in space on Oct. 15, 2003.
The delegation was seen off at Beijing Capital International Airport by Li Jinai, head of the country"s manned space program and director of the General Armament Department of the People"s Liberation Army.
Li said the visit has been approved by the Chinese government, and the presentation of the two UN flags to Annan is a major event for China"s space sector.
He hopes China"s space sector will make new and greater contribution to world peace and development.
In an interview with Xinhua, Hu Shixiang, head of the delegation and deputy head of the manned space program, said China "s acceptance of the invitation indicates the importance it attaches to cooperation with the UN in the outer space field, and its support to UN principles, and its determination for the peaceful use of space for the benefit of all mankind.
Yang Liwei told Xinhua he is leased to visit the UN.
"I"m willing to contribute more to the undertaking of the peaceful use and exploration of outer space," Yang said. (来源：英语交友 http://friends.englishcn.com)
The delegation is also scheduled to meet some former US astronauts, including Edwin B. Aldrin, who went to the moon on Apollo 11 on the first lunar landing mission by mankind, and to visit Kennedy Space Center in Florida of the United States.