China's scientists asked for worldwide cooperation in investigating UFOs on Tuesday after recording "surprising" phenomena last month when fragments of a comet collided with Jupiter.
Wang Changting, chairman of the China UFO Research Organization, told a gathering of 50 scientists his group was investigating cases reported as fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into the planet Jupiter.The sightings may represent the first reports "of close encounters of the third kind" in China, he said.
Wang, who is an engineer, declined to disclose details of the reports, saying only they were "surprising," the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The scientists at the meeting said UFOs pose a huge challenge to modern science and have a significant bearing on human life.
"It is imperative to carry out a global campaign because UFOs are a wordwide concern and comprehensive research in the area entails help from different fields as well as the assistance of state-of-the-art technology," Wang was quoted as saying.
More than 2,000 photos, video and audio tapes, books, magazines and documents concerning UFOs were on display at the four-day conference attended by researchers from Japan and Taiwan, as well as China.
China has reported more than 5,000 sightings, or an eighth of the worldwide total, so the collisions of 21 fragments into the largest planet in the solar system sparked a great deal of public interest.
"We have successfully explained most of the unidentified aerial phenomena," Wang said.