BEIJING, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met representatives of space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-5 lunar mission at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, also visited an exhibition on the lunar samples brought back by the Chang'e-5 probe and China's lunar exploration achievements as well.
Xi stressed promoting the lunar exploration spirit and giving full play to the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strengths to ascend the peak of science and technology and serve the country's overall development.
He emphasized embarking on a new interplanetary exploration journey step by step, promoting the innovative development of China's space exploration cause, and making greater contributions to humanity's peaceful use of space.
Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also attended the event.
Xi had cordial exchanges with some representatives and took a group photo with all.
Xi said that the success of the Chang'e-5 mission marked the conclusion of a three-step lunar exploration program which consisted of orbiting, landing on the moon, and returning with samples. It is another significant achievement in overcoming difficulties by employing the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strengths. It is a vital milestone in the development of China's space endeavor.
Xi extended his congratulations to those who have participated in China's lunar exploration program over the past 17 years. He said they have promoted the lunar exploration spirit of pursuing dreams, daring to explore, cooperating in tackling difficulties and win-win cooperation, and have achieved new heights in science and technology.
Noting that exploring the vast universe is humanity's common dream, Xi urged implementing the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration program. Xi called for giving full play to the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strengths, enhancing independent innovation, strengthening overall planning and working harder to promote the innovative development of China's space science, space technologies, and space applications.
He also stressed actively conducting international cooperation and making better contributions to humanity's well-being.
Since the lunar exploration program was officially approved, six exploration missions have been completed. The Chang'e-5 mission was the most complicated systemic space project in China that required the most diversified technologies. On Dec. 17, 2020, the return capsule of the Chang'e-5 probe brought back the country's first samples from an extraterrestrial body, laying a strong foundation for China's future lunar and planetary explorations.