Chinese IT Companies Form Alliance to Enter Military Market
On Wednesday, 50 of China's largest IT firms formed an alliance
aimed at strengthening their stake in China's increasingly lucrative defense
market. Member companies of the "Computer World Army-Supporting Alliance
on Science and Technology," as the alliance has been dubbed, hope to
take advantage of government contracts anticipated as the Chinese military
begins to reform its purchasing system to adopt the practice of government
procurement. Li Jinai, a member of the central Military Commission and director
of the General Armament Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
(PLA) attended the ceremony marking the launch of the alliance.
The People's Daily reported that, some of the companies have
donated IT products including servers, personal computers, exchanges and routers
to the army, and several firms pledged to help train IT personnel for the
military. The move was approved jointly by the Ministry of Information and
Industry (MII), the General Armament Department, and the China Electronics
Science and Technology Group. It also received sponsorship from the Computer
World Media Group.
Pentagon Report on PLA Modernization
A report released Wednesday by the Pentagon concluded that
China is acquiring missiles more quickly than previously thought, adding
75 missiles a year to its existing stock of 450 short-range ballistic missiles
instead of 50, the number in last year's report. The report also said that
preparing for an armed confrontation over Taiwan was the "primary driver"
of China's military modernization. The report also noted China's recent
acquisition of Russian-made submarines that could be used to cut off shipping
to Taiwan and/or threaten U.S. forces in a conflict.
Beijing has spent heavily in recent years on modernizing its
2.5 million-member military, which amounts to the world's largest. However,
analysts point out that despite its size, the People's Liberation Army lags
far behind U.S. forces. The double-digit growth in the Chinese military
budget every year in the past decade more likely reflects the impressive
U.S. military victory in the Gulf War than an unfolding plot to forcibly
reunify Taiwan with the mainland.
The Chinese side quickly denounced the report. "The goal
is an excuse to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan and fabricate public opinion,"
the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. "The Chinese
side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition."
The Chinese may have a point, since the U.S. is the main arms supplier to
Taiwan. Moreover, in recent "unofficial" meetings with the Department
of Defense, Taiwanese representatives have been asked to purchase more weapons.
International: Six-Way Talks to be Held
After insisting for months on bilateral talks with Washington,
North Korea publicly agreed Friday to the American proposal for a broader
discussion involving the two Koreas, the Unites States, China, Japan,
and Russia. President Bush was informed of the DPRK's decision Wednesday
during a phone conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao. China, long
functioning as the go-between in the dispute, has said repeatedly that
it wants a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, and would like to see the issue
For the Bush administration, it was rare good news in a
long standoff. For months the DPRK seemed intent on moving ahead with
its nuclear weapons programs after earlier agreeing to dismantle its nuclear
programs. After hearing the news of the DPRK acceptance of multilateral
talks, President Bush said in a statement, "In the past it was the
lone voice of the United States speaking clearly about this. Now we'll
have other parties who have got a vested interest in peace on the Korean
The time and place for the discussions has not been determined
yet, but Beijing appears to be a likely candidate.
views expressed herein are those of the writers and editors
do not reflect the views of USCPF itself.
Last Updated: 5 December 2001