The Information Office of the State Council issued a white paper late in 2008, asserting that within its defense-related science, technology and industry, China is accelerating in the fields of reform and innovation. This in turn spurs strategic and specialization-oriented restructuring of various defense industry enterprises and enhances the capabilities of the research and development (R&D) of weaponry and equipment.
The paper indicates China will soon establish a licensing system for weaponry and equipment research and production. According to its specific wording:
“While maintaining state control over weaponry and equipment research and production, the document allows the non-public sector to enter this field and compete for research and production projects. Defense-related science, technology and industry are striving to enhance weaponry and equipment design and development, and to render product design more digitalized, modularized, standardized and reliable.”
The white paper noted that China would enhance the basic capabilities of weaponry and equipment research and production as well as improve the current licensing system. China is also opening itself up to foreign influences on the issue of defense-related technology in so much as that knowledge mutually benefits all concerned. It is expected that the end result of China's cooperation in sharing defense-related science, technology and industry will be the development of more valuable hi-tech civilian products.
As far as the export of military items is concerned, they should serve the purpose of enhancing legitimate self-defense and must not affect or impair the security and stability of the relevant region or the world as a whole.
This white paper is the sixth of its kind to be issued since 1998 and it provides an overall view of China’s national defense expenditure and arms control. It further states that China’s recent satellite project with Brazil has played an important role in the economic development of both countries.
The rest of the world has little choice but to wait and see if the predictions of this important white paper become a reality.