BEIJING - Chairman of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission Ahmed Bilal has said that if China starts taking foreign astronauts to outer space, we would like to be the first candidate.

"We also want to cooperate with China in remote sensing technology and educating the public about space," the China Daily quoted Bilal here.

He was in China to attend the five-day United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology, which opened in Beijing on Monday.

A total of 150 participants from more than 20 nations and regions attended the conference. They are expected to discuss new space projects, microgravity research, international cooperation as well as awareness education for the public.

“We would like to train astronauts from other countries and organisations that have such a demand, and we would be glad to provide trips to foreign astronauts,” said Yang Liwei, Deputy Director of China Manned Space Agency.  Yang said that China will also welcome foreign astronauts who have received training to work in our future space station.

China is willing to provide training and open the Chinese space station to foreign astronauts, he said.

Yang, country's first astronaut, who went into space in 2003, said many countries submitted proposals to the Chinese government during the development of the space station, hoping China would help train their astronauts and then send them to the station to conduct scientific experiments.

The purpose of including foreign participants in our space programmes is not only that these nations can send their people to outer space, but also that we will enable them to develop their own space projects, he added.

China has been involved in a host of cooperative projects with other nations, according to Yang.

Tracing the history of cooperation, he said that China and Russia have collaborated on astronaut training, spacecraft technology and extra-vehicular suits, and "we are cooperating with our French counterparts on a variety of experiments in astrobiology and space medicine."

Furthermore, he said that Chinese and German scientists also performed astrobiological experiments during the unmanned Shenzhou VIII mission in 2011.

Receiving congratulations on the 10th anniversary of his space mission, Yang said China is also determined to assist other developing economies in the space flight, noting that existing cooperative projects between China and developing economies focus on the application of astronautic and space technologies, and training for professionals.