Russia and China will notify each other of (some) ballistic missile and space launches - the intergovernmental agreement, signed on October 13, 2009 in Beijing is making its way through the ratification process and will probably enter into force some time soon.

The agreement will cover launches of ballistic missiles that the countries launch in the direction of each other - for Russia it is "East, North-East, South, and South-East", for China - "West, North-West, North, and North-East." It will also cover all launches of space launchers.

"Ballistic missile" is defined as "a missile that is used as a means of weapon delivery, that has a range of more than 2000 km, and that flies along a ballistic trajectory for most of its flight." "Space launcher" is a rocket that is used to deliver a space object to an Earth orbit or further into the space." (It's not clear if, say, ASAT experiments would be covered by the agreement - as I understand, one can argue that an interceptor is not a "means of weapon delivery.")

Not all launches would have to be reported, though. During the first five years each country would be allowed to withhold a notification of ballistic missile launch "in exceptional cases." During the next five years (the agreement term is ten years) each country could still withhold notifications, but for no more than two ballistic missile launches a year. It appears that there is no exception for space launches.

Unfortunately, none of the notifications will be made public. Still, this agreement is a very good development - it will help Russia and China to create one more institution of cooperation and for their military to get some experience of working together.

UPDATE 11/05/2010: President of Russia signed the ratification law.

UPDATE 12/29/2012: The agreement entered into force on 16 December 2010.