China plans maritime, space projects in next five years

Updated: 2015-11-12 20:28


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BEIJING - China will launch key maritime, space and Internet projects for integration of the country's military and civilian resources in the next five years, a senior officer said.

"China is on its way to building itself into a maritime, space and cyber power," said Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), in a signed article in Thursday's People's Daily.

Calling the seas, space and the Internet "strategic fields for military competition" and "commanding grounds for boosting economic and sci-tech development," Xu said concerted efforts from the whole nation and armed forces are needed to achieve major progress.

China has set up several incubators for the aerospace industry to assist growth and technology transfer in Beijing, Shanghai, Shaanxi and Sichuan.

The country's Tianhe supercomputer series and the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System have improved the development of national defense, society and economy.

"China will next move to break the traditional dualistic structure that isolates the military from the civilian... while promoting joint construction and use of technology, talent and infrastructure," Xu said.

The country will, for example, integrate scattered military and civilian space infrastructure and build a unified national public aerospace network open to both civilian government and the armed forces.

Vowing strong capital input and policy support, Xu said authorities will also select several areas of strategic importance to set up innovation demonstration zones.

The current Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership has promoted a national strategy of "deepening integration of military and civilian development" since it took the helm in late 2012.

Goals for the strategy were outlined in a proposal adopted by the CPC late last month for China's next five-year development plan, saying a sound governing system, policies, rules, laws and plans should be put into place by 2020.

Integrated military and civilian development is "an inevitable choice for China to ensure security and development while increasing wealth and building a strong army," Xu wrote. He added that other countries have adopted a similar approach.

The U.S. Manhattan project and Apollo program and China's great undertakings such as the Shenzhou space craft and Chang'e moon probe show that great economic and social benefits can arise from integrated economic and national defense projects, Xu said.

"Our country is going from large to powerful and is proceeding to the center of the world stage," he wrote in the article. "External pressures are becoming greater, and risks and challenges are also growing."

"We must improve our economic, technological and national defense capabilities at the same time, otherwise we will be large, but not powerful -- appearing strong but actually weak. The national revival would risk being interrupted," he said.