New York

16 October 2003

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the conclusion of China's first manned space flight

The United Nations is pleased to announce that following a formal request by the People's Republic of China to the Secretary-General, two United Nations flags were provided for flight on China's first manned space mission, as a symbol of its "firm commitment to use outer space for peaceful purposes and for the betterment of all humankind".

A small flag was shown on camera during the mission and a large 4 x 6 foot flag was stowed aboard the spacecraft prior to launch. Both flags, having completed 14 orbits around the Earth, will be returned to the Secretary-General at a future event.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, based in Vienna, served as the leading agency and worked closely with the China Manned Space Engineering Program Office, the China National Space Administration and the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations (Vienna) to ensure the activity was a success.

The Secretary-General extends his warm congratulations to yuhangyuan YANG Liwei and the people of China on the successful conclusion of this historic mission and hopes that it will usher in a new era of international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space.