Chinese Military Transparency: Evaluating the 2010 Defense White Paper

By Phillip C. Saunders and Ross Rustici Strategic Forum 269

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Chinese Military Transparency: Evaluating the 2010 Defense White Paper
Chinese Military Transparency: Evaluating the 2010 Defense White Paper
Strategic Forum 269
Photo By: NDU Press
VIRIN: 180314-D-BD104-001

Key Points

  • China’s 2010 Defense White Paper provides relatively little new data and less information about Chinese military capabilities and modernization efforts than previous editions. Consistent with past white papers, this one does not provide any information about specific weapons systems or about nuclear forces and modernization efforts. 
  • An INSS methodology for evaluating military transparency indicates that China’s 2010 white paper receives lower transparency ratings than the 2008 edition and provides less information than defense white papers of other major Asia-Pacific powers. 
  • China emphasizes the importance of transparency about strategic intentions rather than capabilities. 
  • Although Chinese military officers state that increased transparency is intended to reassure neighbors about China’s benign intentions, efforts to downplay China’s expanding military capabilities suggest that the 2010 Defense White Paper will make little progress toward this goal.

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