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President Hu Says Spacewalk a Major Breakthrough

The spacewalk performed by Chinese taikonauts Zhai Zhigang on Saturday afternoon marks a major breakthrough in China's space program, Chinese President Hu Jintao said.

Hu talked with the trio taikonauts at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center for the Shenzhou-7 mission at 6:35 PM on Saturday, when he inquired the physical conditions of the three taikonauts.

"Your country and your fellow citizens thank you for your devotion to the space program," he said.

He congratulated the trio over the success of the spacewalk, and encouraged them to continue the efforts for a "complete success.

Zhai Zhigang was assisted during the spacewalk by Liu Boming in the orbit module. China is the third country in the world to accomplish the feat after the United States and Russia.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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