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Chile, China Sign Agreement on Astronomical Research

China and Chile agreed on an annual fund of 3 million U.S. dollars for joint astronomical research on Friday.

The agreement was signed between Chile's National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Conicyt) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

"This is one of the most important milestones of Sino-Chilean cooperation in science and technology ever obtained," said President of Conicyt Mateo Budinich.

The fund, to be implemented from 2014, will be used for joint training and research programs, according to a Conicyt statement.

The move is a true innovation, Budinich said, expressing the hope that the bilateral fund could serve as an example for scientific partnership.

The two countries also agreed to establish the Chile-China Joint Center for Astronomy in Santiago, the first CAS scientific institution outside China.

Bai Chunli, president of the CAS, said the center is a "milestone that marks a major step forward in the collaboration in astronomy, and demonstrates our strong commitment to strengthen and expand existing collaboration" between both countries.

"Astronomy is a starting point. Our collaboration can be extended to other fields. I am confident that our cooperation in astronomy will have a positive impact on our bilateral partnership in science and technology," Bai said. (Xinhua)

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