Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a meeting with space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-3 mission at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 6, 2014. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed science and technology innovation to support productivity and national strength.
Xi made the remarks on Monday while meeting space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-3 mission.
"Dare to walk the unwalked paths, constantly seek excellence through solving difficulties, and accelerate the shift to innovation-fueled development," Xi said, urging that science and technology innovation be put in a "core position" in the country's overall development.
The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, composed of a lander and China's first moon rover, named "Yutu," soft-landed on the moon on Dec. 14, making China the third country to carry out such a mission after the United States and the Soviet Union.
Yutu separated from the lander hours later and the two photographed each other on Dec. 15.
The Chang'e-3 mission marked the completion of the second phase of China's lunar program, which consists of orbiting, landing and returning to Earth.
On behalf of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, Xi congratulated the space scientists and engineers on the success of the lunar probe mission and extended his New Year's greetings.
Describing innovation as "the soul of a people and the source for a country's prosperity," Xi said the Chang'e-3 mission was "'China-made' in every sense of the phrase" and the result of independent innovation.
According to Xi, the success of the mission marked a new milestone for the country's space undertaking and also scaled a new height in climbing the science and technology mountain.
"As we made 'Yutu' lay its prints on the moon, we also imprinted the extraordinary creativity of the Chinese nation in the history of human civilization," Xi said, adding that the contribution from people behind the mission will be forever remembered.
Xi said the success of China's lunar missions embodied the blood and wisdom of generations of the country's space scientists and engineers, and it strengthened the determination and confidence of Chinese people of all ethnic groups in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Xi urged for deepened reform in science and technology while broadening openness and cooperation in the field to make greater contributions to human development.
Xi also vowed to improve a mechanism for talent development and support science and technology workers in their innovation cause with the utmost efforts.
Premier Li Keqiang and five other senior officials of the Communist Party of China, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, also attended the meeting.
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