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"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
China

China Opposes Prospective U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

Wade Boese

Repeating what has become an annual exercise, senior Chinese government officials stepped up their public opposition in March to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The United States, which decides every April what weapons it will sell to Taiwan, has, as always, remained silent about its prospective sales but has stressed its commitment to help provide for Taiwan's defense.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and seeks the island's reunification with the mainland, views all arms sales by foreign countries to Taipei as a violation of Chinese sovereignty. Washington justifies its Taiwan arms sales as an obligation arising from the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which calls on the United States to make available arms "necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." The United States adopted the act after switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

This year, Taiwan is reportedly seeking, among other arms, to buy P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft, advanced anti-radar missiles, and four U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers equipped with the Aegis combat system. The Clinton administration declined to sell these weapons last year but did approve for the first time the sale of an advanced air-to-air missile.

China is most upset by the possible destroyer sale because of the ship's advanced radar, communications, and battle management capabilities, as well as the fact that the United States is planning to use these ships as the platform for its own naval theater missile defense systems. Speaking to reporters in Beijing March 14, Sha Zukang, who heads the Chinese Foreign Ministry's arms control and disarmament department, expressed "hate" for all U.S. arms sales to Taiwan but said that the "Aegis is the worst." Sha worried that the destroyer's advanced technology would permit it to be "linked" to the U.S. military, which he stated would be "tantamount to [a] de facto military alliance" between Taipei and Washington.

Earlier in the month, on March 6, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan warned the sale of advanced weaponry like the destroyers would "endanger China-U.S. relations" and counseled the United States to "rein in its wild horse right on the side of the precipice." Chinese officials describe Taiwan as the most important and sensitive issue in U.S.-China relations.

Since the Bush administration assumed office in January, China has sent three delegations to the United States to lobby against U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the most recent being the trip made by Vice Premier Qian Qichen in mid-March. Qian told reporters March 20 that the sale of the Aegis-equipped ships could change China's approach to reunification with Taiwan from peaceful to "military." Chinese policy, as outlined in February 2000, is that Beijing will only resort to force against Taiwan if the island declares independence, is occupied by a foreign country, or indefinitely refuses to negotiate on reunification.

Meeting with top U.S. officials later in the week, Qian did not repeat the same statement. Instead, according to a senior State Department official, on March 21 Qian issued the standard Chinese complaint to Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that China considers U.S. arms sales to Taiwan a violation of the 1982 Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqué, which stated that the United States would not "carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan" and that U.S. arms sales would "not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years." Powell disagreed, the official said, and defended U.S. arms sales as helping stability in the region.

Qian did not raise the issue of arms sales with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the next morning, but he broached it with President George W. Bush that night without mentioning specific weapons systems. A senior administration official said the president reaffirmed to Qian the U.S. commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act. Bush, according to the official, also told Qian in a general discussion on regional security that "nothing we do is a threat to you, and I want you to tell that to your leadership."

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post the following day in Beijing, Chinese President Jiang Zemin declared, "We absolutely oppose the sale of advanced weapons by the United States to Taiwan." He further warned, "The more weapons you sell, the more we will prepare ourselves in terms of our national defense." The sale of Aegis-equipped destroyers would be "very detrimental to China-U.S. relations," Jiang concluded.

For their part, Bush administration officials contend they have yet to decide on any specific weapons package, saying the decision will be made in April. Some Taiwan papers, however, report that Washington has already decided not to supply the advanced destroyers. An alternative could be the sale of four decommissioned Kidd-class guided-missile destroyers, which are not equipped with the Aegis system. Such a sale would be less provocative to China and could likely be completed sooner.

According to Litton Ingalls, one of the two U.S. companies that build the Arleigh Burke destroyers, it takes three years to build an Arleigh Burke-class ship to established U.S. specifications; Taiwan's requirements would likely be different. In addition, the two companies are currently building additional destroyers for the U.S. Navy, and it is uncertain how Taiwan ships would fit into the schedule.

During a mid-March visit to China, Admiral Dennis Blair, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, cautioned that U.S. decisions on what arms to sell Taiwan "depend in large measure" on what China does with its missiles that threaten the island. Blair noted that China has approximately 300 missiles deployed across from Taiwan and is adding about 50 a year.

Senior Republicans in Congress, led by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), have advocated the sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan. On March 8, a professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Helms, released a report arguing that "Taiwan does need new platforms, particularly submarines and advanced destroyers." The report charged that the United States has not only been "rejecting and slowing down arms sales to Taiwan," but "dumbing down" weapons approved for Taiwan. Taiwan's military is also "increasingly worried" about Chinese military activities and weapons buys from Russia, the report noted. (Two days before the report's release, China announced a 17.7 percent increase in its defense spending.)

According to the Pentagon, it delivered more than $15.3 billion in weaponry to Taiwan between fiscal years 1990 and 1999, as compared with only $4.4 billion in all prior years back to 1950. A Congressional Research Service report last August noted that, over an eight-year period beginning in 1992, Taiwan received some $20.6 billion in arms, while China imported roughly $5.9 billion in weapons. China primarily buys Russian weaponry, which are cheaper than U.S. arms.

Bush Administration Blunts International Opposition to NMD

Wade Boese

Two months into its term, the Bush administration's continued efforts to build foreign acceptance of, if not support for, U.S. deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) appear to be paying some small dividends. In mid-March, a top Chinese official, while still vehemently objecting to U.S. plans, welcomed talks with Washington on the issue. Meanwhile, Germany has edged away from its past opposition to NMD, and France has publicly quieted its criticism, although neither country has embraced the idea.

Unlike the Clinton administration, which largely neglected Asia on U.S. NMD plans and upset U.S. allies by focusing first on winning Russian acquiescence while taking their support for granted, the Bush administration from the outset has promised to consult fully with all interested countries. At the same time, Bush officials have emphasized they will not be dissuaded from their objective and have expressed confidence in their ability to persuade others to eventually accept a U.S. defense.

Starting a March 14 speech by noting, "It is no news that China is opposed to the U.S. NMD program," Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang declared that he wanted to "make it clear that…we are ready to have a dialogue and discussion with Americans [on NMD]." The head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's arms control and disarmament department, Sha pointed out that only through consultations could the two sides "enhance mutual understanding and narrow down the differences." Sha, who in his speech equated NMD with "drinking poison to quench thirst," said Washington and Beijing need to talk "no matter how serious [the] issue."

While declaring that China does not want a confrontation with the United States over missile defenses, the ambassador warned that China will "not allow its legitimate means of self-defense to be weakened" and that Beijing wants to preserve "existing mutual deterrence" between China and the United States. Currently, China, which possesses roughly 20 ICBMs capable of reaching the United States, fears a U.S. national missile defense, no matter how limited, could negate its small arsenal, making China vulnerable to a U.S. first strike or eliminating its ability to deter the United States from intervening militarily in Asia, particularly with regard to Taiwan.

Like the Clinton administration did, Bush officials have declared that the system will not be directed at China, but at other states, such as North Korea and Iran, that are pursuing long-range ballistic missiles. Sha rejected this assurance, saying the United States has "over-exaggerated" such threats. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has said that only those who would threaten the United States or its friends and allies should be concerned about a U.S. defense.

Sha repeated long-standing Chinese charges that a U.S. missile defense could start another arms race, including one extending into outer space, and could possibly spur increased missile proliferation. Sha said that for those reasons China, which is already known to be modernizing its strategic forces, hoped Washington would abandon its plans. He added that China "should have reason to be confident that we can deal with it" if there is a U.S. deployment.

The ambassador further said that China does not oppose theater ballistic missile defenses (TMD) "utilized to protect a country's troops and for air defense purpose[s]," and he applauded the Russian proposal for a European TMD. But Sha warned against any U.S. transfer of TMD to Taiwan and against any system that could play a role in or serve as a "front" for a wider missile defense.

A week after Sha's speech, Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen raised the missile defense issue with both President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington. A senior administration official told reporters March 22 that at the meeting Bush reiterated that a defense would not be a threat to China. When asked whether there was now a better understanding between the two countries on the issue, the official replied "I wouldn't go that far…you'd have to ask his side if they felt that."

Visiting Washington a week later on March 29, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed interest in Germany playing a future part in U.S. missile defenses if they were deployed. "Certainly, when it comes to the involvement and also participation in terms of industrial policy, certainly we'll be interested," Schroeder answered when asked by a reporter whether Germany would be willing to participate in a system.

However, Schroeder noted there were many issues that needed to be looked into, such as whether a missile defense will work, who will be covered, and how it will impact global disarmament and relations with Russia and China. Bush described himself as "grateful" that Schroeder was interested in the U.S. point of view, and the chancellor, who has been a leading European voice expressing reservations about U.S. missile defense plans, said he was "very pleased" that the president was open to discussion about the questions he had posed.

Quite vocal about its missile defense concerns last year, France has quieted its public protests following the Bush administration's promise to hold consultations with allies. A French official explained that France still has the same concerns it expressed in the past about the "potential negative effects" of missile defense but that it will raise those issues in private. Like Berlin, Paris seems to be reserving judgment on U.S. plans until it has had an opportunity to discuss them with Washington.

Russia has continued to voice its opposition to U.S. plans, and on March 6, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, a critic of missile defenses, noted after a meeting with Powell that she had not changed her position. Lindh also said that the European Union presidency, which Sweden currently occupies, does not want to see the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty threatened.

South Korea Clarifies Position on NMD

After South Korean President Kim Dae Jung signed a February 27 joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin that called for the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to be "preserved and strengthened," Seoul rushed to explain that it is not opposed to a U.S. national missile defense (NMD).

Kim's signature of the statement was widely reported as evidence that South Korea was siding with Russia against U.S. missile defense plans, but Seoul announced the next day that it was "engaged in a serious review of the NMD issue" and that reports characterizing South Korea as opposing or indirectly criticizing missile defenses "have no factual ground." Seoul further pointed out that the controversial statement was a direct quotation of other statements that Washington has signed over the past year, including one that was issued by the nuclear-weapon states at the 2000 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.

After meeting President George W. Bush at their March 7 summit in Washington, Kim reiterated to reporters that the joint South Korean-Russian statement "in no way reflects our position on NMD issues" and added that he "regretted the misunderstanding." In a joint U.S.-South Korean statement issued that day, the two leaders recognized that there were new threats in the world and that countering them would require a "variety of measures, including active non-proliferation diplomacy, defensive systems, and other pertinent measures."

A March 23 South Korean press report later quoted Seoul's foreign minister, Lee Joung-binn, as saying that the United States had requested a statement of support for NMD at the summit but that South Korea had declined. Lee subsequently retracted his remark, but on March 26 he and 10 other cabinet ministers and senior presidential secretaries were replaced by Kim in a move interpreted as an attempt to better relations with Washington. —W.B.

Russia Holds Second GCS Conference

Continuing to build upon a concept it proposed in June 1999, on February 15 Moscow hosted the second conference on its Global Control System (GCS) initiative to combat missile proliferation. Governments from over 70 countries sent high-level representatives, including China, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan—all states of missile proliferation concern. The United States was the only member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an arrangement among 32 countries aiming to stem missile proliferation, that declined to send a representative.

At the first GCS conference in March 2000, Russia outlined the framework for a multilateral regime consisting primarily of an international missile prelaunch notification agreement, a system of incentives for "stimulating and encouraging" states to forgo the possession of missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, and an international forum devoted to continually addressing missile non-proliferation issues.

According to an official familiar with the discussions, at this year's conference GCS participants discussed an international code of conduct on ballistic missile non-proliferation that was first aired at MTCR meetings last year. Unlike the MTCR's restrictions on missile suppliers, the proposed code would tackle ballistic missile non-proliferation from the demand side, placing limitations on states seeking to advance their missile capabilities. Details on the code are not yet public.

According to the official, India and China—both states outside the MTCR regime—seemed willing to consider such a code of conduct, but only under the auspices of the United Nations.

While not attending the conference, Washington agreed last September, in a joint statement with Moscow, to work "on a new mechanism" to integrate the Russian GCS proposal, the missile code of conduct, and the MTCR's existing framework. (See ACT, October 2000.) A U.S. official said that Washington does not support elements of the GCS proposal outside the context of the MTCR.

While the method for building on this year's meeting remains unclear, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said that the conference's participants suggested "a gradual practical elaboration" of the GCS, which may include bringing the proposal to the UN.

Commission Warns U.S. Space Assets Vulnerable

Wade Boese

Tasked with reviewing the organization and management of U.S. national security-related space activities, a congressionally mandated commission issued a report January 11 faulting the government for neglecting U.S. space capabilities. The commission warned that U.S. space assets are vulnerable and recommended that Washington develop additional space capabilities for deterrence and defense—possibly including space-based weapons.

The 13-member "Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization," headed by Donald Rumsfeld until he was nominated to serve as defense secretary on December 28, noted that the United States is "more dependent on space than any other nation." This dependence, the commission reported, makes the United States an "attractive candidate for a 'Space Pearl Harbor.'" As evidence, the commission cited, among other examples, a Chinese news article that Beijing is exploring strategies to defeat the U.S. military in a high-tech and space-based war.

Because of U.S. dependence on space, the commission said Washington must remain engaged in shaping the rules and regulations for space use, cautioning that the United States should be leery of any agreement that could, even if unintentionally, restrict U.S. space activities. While the commission acknowledged the "sensitivity" surrounding weapons in space, it declared that ignoring the issue would be a "disservice." The commission further believed that conflict in space is a "virtual certainty" and that the United States should "vigorously pursue" capabilities to guarantee the option of deploying space weapons if necessary. China, Russia, and other countries are currently pressing for negotiations on preventing an arms race in outer space at the UN Conference on Disarmament, an effort Washington is opposing.

In addition, the report said the United States should review "existing arms control obligations in light of a growing need to extend deterrent capabilities to space." The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty proscribes the development, testing, and deployment of space-based systems or components for defending against strategic ballistic missile attacks.

The commission, comprised of several retired U.S. military officers who previously held space-related commands, spent six months assessing U.S. space activities. Much of the commission's report focused on critiquing U.S. government management of its space activities, concluding that current responsibility for space issues is spread too broadly, leading to insufficient attention, direction, and funding of U.S. space programs. As a remedy, the commission called on the president to make space a national priority and for the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community, as first steps, to better organize their space commands to improve "responsibility and accountability."

China Tests DF-31 Missile

China conducted a flight test of its Dong Feng (DF)-31 long-range missile on November 4, the Pentagon said December 12. Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon would not provide many details on the test, saying simply, "The test was pretty much as expected in terms of timing and in terms of results."

The test, which was first reported in The Washington Times, advances China's strategic modernization program, which is designed to increase the survivability and reliability of its small nuclear deterrent force.

The DF-31 is a solid-fueled, road-mobile missile with an estimated range of 8,000 kilometers, meaning that, when deployed, it will be able to target portions of the northwestern United States. It was first flight-tested in August 1999. According to The Washington Times, China also tested the DF-31 in the spring of 2000 and in mid-December, but the Pentagon refused to confirm those tests.

Currently, China is reported to have only about 20 ICBMs, known as DF-4s, capable of hitting the continental United States. The DF-4 is liquid-fueled and silo-based and has been in service for over 20 years. In addition to the DF-31, China is developing another mobile ICBM that will have a longer range and will likely replace the DF-4.

China Tests DF-31 Missile

China Issues Missile Export Pledge; U.S. Says It Will Waive Sanctions

December 2000

By J. Peter Scoblic

China formally committed November 21 not to export ballistic missile components and technology restricted by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), marking a step forward in extended U.S. efforts to stem Chinese missile proliferation. In exchange, the Clinton administration immediately announced that it would resume processing applications for U.S. companies to launch satellites on Chinese rockets and would not pursue sanctions against Beijing for past missile transfers to Pakistan and Iran. The administration will, however, impose sanctions on the Pakistani and Iranian entities that received Chinese missile-related assistance.

The statement detailing the commitment, issued by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing, indicates that China will not help states develop "ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons (i.e., missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a distance of at least 300 kilometers)." Though it makes no mention of the 32-member Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary arrangement restricting missile exports, the statement does say that China will "take into account the relevant practices of other countries," and the range and payload guidelines it specifies mirror those in the MTCR.

According to the statement, China will issue "at an early date" a "comprehensive" list of missile-related and dual-use items whose export will require a government license. In issuing those licenses, the statement says the Chinese government will consider the items' end-user and whether they might be used to develop missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The statement also says that China will "exercise special scrutiny and caution, even for those items not specifically contained on the control list."

Less than an hour after the Chinese announcement, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that, in view of the Chinese promise, the United States would resume reviewing U.S. firms' applications to launch satellites on Chinese rockets, a process that had been suspended in February. Boucher also announced that the Clinton administration had "decided to waive economic sanctions required by U.S. law for past assistance by Chinese entities to missile programs in Pakistan and Iran." Boucher did not specify the nature of the assistance, but a State Department official explained that the sanctions would have been imposed for a pattern of Chinese transfers that was growing intolerable. "We were going to have to do something," the official said.

The United States will impose sanctions on the relevant Pakistani and Iranian entities, however. According to Boucher, the Ministry of Defense and the Upper Atmosphere Research Commission in Pakistan will be sanctioned for involvement in the transfer of so-called MTCR Category I systems—that is, complete missile systems. Those entities and Iran's Defense Industries Organization and its Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics will be sanctioned for the transfer of Category II items, components and technologies that can be used to make MTCR-class systems. Because of existing U.S. sanctions against the two countries, the new sanctions will have little economic effect.

Washington has long been concerned about Chinese missile assistance to Pakistan and Iran, and it imposed sanctions on China in 1991 and 1993 for transfers to Pakistan. However, in both instances the sanctions were lifted after little more than a year, when China agreed to abide by the terms of, but not formally join, the MTCR. More recently, following his 1998 summit with President Bill Clinton, Chinese President Jiang Zemin indicated that China would "actively consider joining" the regime.

Despite China's assurances, however, its proliferation of missile technology appears to have continued. In a biannual report to Congress released in August, the CIA noted that during the first half of 1999 "Chinese entities provided increased assistance to Pakistan's ballistic missile program" and that "firms in China provided missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several countries of proliferation concern—such as Iran, North Korea and Libya."

U.S. officials believe that the new pledge represents moderate progress over past Chinese assurances. "It's another step in the process," one administration official said, noting that "the more specific we can get with China, the better it is." Responding to Republican criticism of the deal, Boucher said in a November 22 briefing that the new promise is "a much more comprehensive commitment" than those made previously. However, in light of China's past actions, a wait-and-see attitude is prevalent. "How they actually implement it—that will be the proof," the State Department official said. "It's a question of what [Beijing's] political will actually looks like."

China's commitment is the result of months of talks led by Gary Samore, special assistant to the president for non-proliferation and export controls, and Robert Einhorn, assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation. The deal securing China's export commitment in exchange for the sanctions waiver and resumption of commercial space contact was finally reached in early November and was approved by Clinton and Jiang at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Brunei.

Despite Beijing's promised export controls, Chinese formal participation in the MTCR will apparently remain a U.S. goal. "We would love to see [China] ultimately join the MTCR," the administration official said.

Asked why China did not simply sign on to the MTCR, given that its new export declaration mimics the regime's guidelines, Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang Yuanyuan said that Beijing does not see a "rush" to join the MTCR, which he pointed out was drawn up without China's involvement. China is still studying membership in the MTCR, according to Zhang.

After years of prodding by the United States, the timing of China's pledge is something of a question. One administration official speculated the agreement was partly intended to recognize the administration's work this fall in pushing through Congress the bill granting China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) and said that the missile agreement was an attempt by Beijing to further warm U.S.-Chinese relations. Zhang agreed, saying it is "very important in that we have successfully removed one of the sore points in the relationship."

Beijing may also be seeking to prevent punitive congressional action. In May, Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) introduced the China Nonproliferation Act, which would have required sanctions against Chinese entities exporting certain weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles. Repeated attempts to bring the bill to a vote failed, and an attempt in September to amend it to the PNTR legislation was defeated. But Senate Republicans may introduce further non-proliferation legislation next year. One Thompson staffer expressed dissatisfaction with the Chinese promise and said, "In one way or another, we're going to come back at this again."

China Issues Missile Export Pledge; U.S. Says It Will Waive Sanctions

Israel Halts Chinese Phalcon Deal

Wade Boese

Aiming to end a prolonged public dispute with Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told President Bill Clinton on July 11, the first day of a U.S.-brokered Middle East peace summit, that Israel would not complete a 1996 deal that would have given China its first advanced airborne early-warning (AEW) capability. Although upsetting China, the Israeli cancellation averted U.S. congressional threats to withhold aid to Israel if the AEW deal went forward. Washington and Tel Aviv are now holding high-level talks on strengthening their "strategic relationship" and avoiding similar future conflicts.

The United States went public last fall with its long-held opposition to the estimated $1 billion deal for four Phalcon radar systems when the first Russian-supplied plane destined for China arrived in Israel to be outfitted with the system. Designed to provide simultaneous long-range tracking of multiple air and surface targets, the Phalcon radar system, according to U.S. government officials, could impact the Taiwan Strait military balance in China's favor.

Citing the "need to help intimate relations" with the United States during and after the summit, Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, publicly announced on July 12 that it would stop implementation of the Phalcon deal. The announcement emphasized that Israel considered itself to be "together with the United States in the midst of an effort to achieve historic decisions which are related to [Israel's] vital interests." While the summit ended July 25 without a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, reported Israeli expectations are that if a future peace deal is concluded with the Palestinians or Syria, the United States will provide significant military and financial assistance to Israel.

In announcing the cancellation, Israeli spokesman Gadi Baltiansky stated Israel would "continue to look for ways to implement the [Phalcon] deal" if circumstances changed. However, U.S. congressional and administration sources, as well as an Israeli official with close knowledge of the issue, said the deal is off. The Israeli official noted that "no one" expects circumstances to change in the short or medium term.

Barak resisted U.S. calls earlier this year, even in personal meetings with Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen, to void the sale. (See ACT, May 2000.) Describing the final decision as "difficult," the Israeli official pointed to a combination of Cohen's April 3 visit, when he forcefully voiced U.S. concerns, and rising opposition by U.S. Congress members, including long-time Israel supporters, as turning points in Israeli thinking on the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and four other senior senators sent a bipartisan April 6 letter to Barak expressing their "deep concerns" with Israel's military cooperation with China and warned it could negatively affect U.S.-Israeli relations. The senators implied that Israel would risk the potential "multi-billion dollar U.S. aid package" being discussed as part of a possible peace agreement with Syria if the Phalcon deal went forward.

Representative Sonny Callahan (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs, proposed legislation to hold back Israeli aid worth $250 million—the value of one Phalcon system—unless the Pentagon certified that the deal did not pose a threat to U.S. national security. Clinton requested a total of $2.82 billion in U.S. aid for Israel over the next fiscal year.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) also filed, but never officially introduced, the Callahan language on the Senate side. Helms, according to one of his spokesmen, "expected more from an ally than to provide this type of weapon system to a potential adversary." Remarks by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh in mid-June suggesting Israel could cut imports from the United States if Washington cut aid had further raised Helms' ire.

Callahan dropped his legislation after Israeli Ambassador David Ivry informed the congressman of Israel's decision to stop the sale. Speaking to the House that day, Callahan called the cancellation a "tremendous step in the right direction." Helms' spokesman described the senator as "greatly relieved" by Israel's decision.

Barak, according to Baltiansky, expressed his "sorrow" by letter to Chinese President Jiang Zemin for Israel's cancellation of the deal and reassured him that Israel attached "great importance to her relations with China." Israel started marketing arms to China in 1979.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said July 13 that the deal should be "honored" and that no other country should interfere in Chinese relations with other states. Later that day, Cohen, who was in Beijing when Israel announced its plan, said Jiang raised the issue as one of "concern." Cohen acknowledged U.S. opposition to the sale, but denied it reflected any attempt to "contain China."

Clinton announced July 27 that the United States would conduct a "comprehensive review" to improve U.S.-Israeli relations, including the maintenance of Israel's "qualitative edge" and the modernization of the Israeli military. Although State Department officials would not comment on the talks, the first round of which took place August 7 to 9 in Washington, they reportedly included discussions of Israel vetting with the United States arms sales to specific countries—China, India, Pakistan, and Russia.

U.S.-China Arms Talks Resume

J. Peter Scoblic

After a 19-month hiatus, the United States and China resumed arms control talks in July, but high-level visits to Beijing failed to resolve Washington's concerns about China's transfer of missile technology to Pakistan. Those concerns were fueled during the summer by new reported U.S. intelligence in late June and by the August release of a biannual CIA report on proliferation. The new information also bolstered support for legislation that would punish Beijing and Chinese firms found to be violating proliferation norms.

In late June and early July, The New York Times and the Far Eastern Economic Review reported that, according to U.S. intelligence sources, China has increased its assistance to Pakistan's missile program and may be helping Pakistan construct a second factory to build M-11 missiles. The M-11 is a nuclear-capable missile with a reported range of 300 kilometers, meaning that it falls within the purview of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). U.S. officials would not comment on the reports, but they noted that China's missile cooperation with Pakistan has been a matter of concern for years.

The United States first imposed sanctions on Pakistani and Chinese entities in 1991 under provisions of the 1990 Defense Authorization Act governing the transfer of missile technology. However, the sanctions were waived the next year after Beijing agreed to abide by the terms of the MTCR, though it did not formally join the regime. In 1993, the United States again imposed sanctions against China and Pakistan for the transfer of M-11 related equipment and technology. Once again, the sanctions were lifted the next year after China promised to adhere to MTCR guidelines.

John Holum, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control, discussed U.S. concerns about China's continued transfer of missile technology to Pakistan during a trip to Beijing in early July. The visit marked the first round of formal U.S.-Chinese arms control talks since November 1998. Beijing stopped all discussions with Washington following the May 1999 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the U.S.-led airwar against Yugoslavia.

In a July 8 press briefing, Holum said that while he did address Chinese-Pakistani missile cooperation during his meetings with Chinese officials, the issue "remains unresolved." During the briefing, however, Holum stressed that China has dramatically improved its commitment to non-proliferation in recent years and said that there are "many more areas of agreement than disagreement" between the two countries.

Holum's trip was followed by a visit by Defense Secretary William Cohen, who arrived in Beijing on July 12 for talks on re-establishing military-to-military contacts. In a press conference after meeting with his Chinese counterpart, General Chi Haotian, Cohen said that China had denied transferring missile technology to Pakistan or any other country but that "the matter is still under discussion."

Chinese officials insist that Beijing has not continued to aid Lahore's M-11 program. According to a spokesman at the Chinese embassy in Washington, "There is not a missile cooperation program between China and Pakistan." The spokesman went on to say that Beijing is "seriously considering" joining the MTCR. However, an unclassified CIA report presented biannual to Congress and released August 8 noted that "Chinese entities provided increased assistance to Pakistan's ballistic missile program during the second half of 1999."

 

Thompson Bill

The media coverage and the CIA report were used by Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) as further justification for a bill he introduced May 25 termed the China Nonproliferation Act (S. 2645). As originally written, the law would require the president to submit an annual report to Congress on any Chinese entities engaged in exporting items that could be used in weapons of mass destruction, ballistic and cruise missiles, or advanced conventional weapons. The act mandates sanctions against those entities and the Chinese government.

Although the bill has bipartisan support, it was not brought to a vote this summer, partly because of resistance from the White House. The administration objected to the non-proliferation bill's exclusive focus on China and the fact that it would limit the ways in which the president could respond to evidence of proliferation. Disagreement over the bill held up legislation establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China—a high priority for the Clinton administration.

Following meetings with congressional leaders and administration representatives, Thompson announced July 25 that he had revised the bill. Specifically, he said that the scope of the bill had been enlarged to include not just China but all proliferating countries, as identified by the CIA, and that the modified legislation gave the president more leeway in imposing sanctions.

The revised legislation has not yet been formally submitted, and the Senate recessed for August without taking any action. According to a Thompson staffer, it is not likely that the legislation will be brought to a floor as a stand-alone bill. Thompson may therefore choose to attach the China Nonproliferation Act to the PNTR legislation in order to ensure action this fall, the staffer said.

U.S.-China Arms Talks Resume

China Repeats Call for CD Outer Space Talks

July/August 2000

Without naming the United States, on June 22, China cited national and theater missile defenses as examples of programs aimed at the domination of outer space. Speaking to the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), Ambassador Hu Xiaodi repeated China's long-standing call for the 66-member conference to begin negotiations to prevent an arms race in outer space. Sole U.S. opposition to such negotiations, combined with China's refusal to start any negotiations without formal outer space talks, has prevented the conference, which operates by consensus, from starting any arms control negotiations this year. Claiming that current efforts to amend the 1972 ABM Treaty, which proscribes national strategic missile defenses, are only the "tip of the iceberg," Hu warned that the ABM Treaty would be "increasingly weakened, leading to its total abolition." According to Hu, such a development would lead to the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, as well as "trigger off global weapons proliferation." If negotiations do not start now to prevent the weaponization of outer space, Hu concluded that the CD would eventually need to undertake negotiations on the disarmament of outer space.

The United States, which is seeking to modify the ABM Treaty to permit a limited U.S. national missile defense, maintains that there is no arms race in outer space and that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty banning the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space is sufficient. Washington's preference is to start negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty and to discuss, but not negotiate on, outer space as well as nuclear disarmament. But Hu indicated that China wanted "negotiating mechanisms" for all three items.

At this year's nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, the NPT states-parties, which include China, urged the conference to complete negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty within five years. Conference members last agreed on cutoff negotiations in August 1998, but formal talks did not get underway before the negotiating session expired.

The conference concludes the second of its three working periods July 7. Finland's CD ambassador, also speaking June 22, warned that there was little time left to reach an agreement for doing any substantive work in the CD's final negotiating session this year, scheduled to take place from August 7 to September 22.

China Repeats Call for CD Outer Space Talks

Israel Rebuffs U.S. Demand To Cancel China Arms Deal

May 2000

By Wade Boese

Despite strong public opposition from the United States, Israel is proceeding with the sale to China of an advanced airborne early-warning (AEW) radar system, which U.S. officials warn could affect the strategic balance between China and Taiwan. After April meetings with Defense Secretary William Cohen and President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak would say only that Israel would continue discussions on the deal with the United States.

In a 1996 deal with China worth approximately $1 billion, Israel agreed to equip four Russian-supplied aircraft with the Phalcon system, a state-of-the-art, long-range radar capable of simultaneously tracking multiple airborne and surface targets. U.S. government officials believe, and Israeli officials insist, that no U.S. technology is involved.

If delivered, the Phalcon system—previously supplied to Chile—would provide China's first airborne early-warning and control capability. Taiwan's inventory includes four U.S.-made AEW Hawkeye aircraft, and two more are scheduled for delivery in 2004.

Informed of the sale in June 1996, U.S. opposition only became public last fall. State Department and Pentagon officials contend that Washington has voiced its concerns through diplomatic and military channels since 1996. A National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson said the administration has raised the issue "regularly and repeatedly."

Meeting with Barak on April 3 during a 10-nation visit to Africa and the Middle East, Cohen told a joint press conference, held with the Israeli prime minister, that the United States objected to the Phalcon deal because of its "potential of changing the balance" in the Taiwan Strait. A week later, Cohen repeated Washington's strong opposition and described the sale as "counterproductive" because the technology could find its way back to Israeli rivals in the Middle East.

Barak told the April 3 press conference that Israel was "aware of the sensitivity in the United States with regard to China." However, he said Israel was also "aware of [its] commitments in the contracts that [it has] signed." Barak finished by saying Israel understood the need for "close coordination and contact" with the United States. A senior U.S. administration official reported that Barak repeated similar sentiments in an April 11 meeting with President Bill Clinton in Washington and that discussions would continue.

Barak later met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Israel during the first-ever visit to that country by a Chinese head of state. At a joint press conference April 13, Barak intervened twice to answer questions addressed to Jiang about the deal. While again noting U.S. concerns, Barak described Israeli credibility and Israeli relations with China as being of "high importance."

Israel is concerned about canceling the deal and upsetting China, which Israeli officials worry could lead China to increase weapons exports to countries hostile to Israel. In addition, Israel is reluctant to forfeit a profitable deal with a long-time arms customer that could be picked up by British or French companies that competed for the original sale.

An official for BAE Systems, a British company that manufactures AEW systems, said talks with China have been dormant for several months and that BAE is not currently pursuing any deal. The NSC spokesperson remarked that the United States is "prepared to engage other countries in expressing our concerns about issues that could affect the stability of the Asia- Pacific region." When asked, a U.K. government official said he was "not aware of any direct U.S. government lobbying effort on this particular issue."

In his proposed fiscal year 2001 budget, Clinton requested a total of $2.82 billion in military aid and economic support for Israel. Representative Sonny Callahan (R-AL), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs, indicated he would put a hold on $250 million—the value of one Phalcon system—of the proposed aid unless the Pentagon certifies that the Israeli deal does not jeopardize U.S. national security interests. State Department spokesman James Rubin, however, said April 10 that the radar deal should not be tied to U.S. foreign aid.

Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. aid, is also seeking a security package worth approximately $17 billion, involving arms, as well as greater intelligence and early-warning cooperation with the United States, as part of a potential Israeli peace deal with Syria. With the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations currently stalled, talks on the proposed U.S. security package have been put on hold.

Israel Rebuffs U.S. Demand To Cancel China Arms Deal

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