China plans to put astronauts on the moon, according to a 5-year plan of the country’s space activities released on Friday.

If China follows through with the plan, it will become the first nation to visit the moon after the U.S. but the white paper, published by the Information Office of the State Council, doesn’t give a time that they are planning to take off.

China is currently building a prototype space station, the Tiangong 1, before construction of a Mir-class station, CNET reported.

“China relies primarily on its own capabilities to develop its space industry to meet the needs of modernization, based upon its actual conditions and strength,” the paper states.

China has already mapped the moon with the Chang'e-1 lunar probe, and plans to send the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft to dock with Tiangong-1 in 2012.

The paper confirms that the mission is peaceful, even though the space program is backed by the People's Liberation Army.

"China always adheres to the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes weaponization or any arms race in outer space."