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"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
China

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, September 25

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert will suspend its daily update until talks resume in August, but will update readers of the latest developments as necessary. Crunch Time Achieving progress this week in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 "is the key to reach a comprehensive agreement" before the Nov. 24 deadline, according to Michael Mann, spokesperson for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, who spoke to reporters on Sept. 24. With...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, September 18

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert will suspend its daily update until talks resume in August, but will update readers of the latest developments as necessary. Off to the Races Ministerial-level negotiations during July 2014 meetings between the P5+1 and Iran on its nuclear program. (Reuters) Talks between Iran and the P5+1 resume today with the first full plenary since negotiations were extended in July. Negotiators are meeting in New York City on the...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, September 3

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. Ashton, Zarif Meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief and lead negotiator for the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), met on Monday in Brussels to discuss the resumption of nuclear talks. After the meeting, Zarif said he was "optimistic" that negotiators could reach an agreement by the November 24 deadline. No date is set, however, for the resumption of...

China Conducts ASAT Test, U.S. Says

Timothy Farnsworth

China conducted “a non-destructive test of a missile designed to destroy satellites” on July 23, according to the U.S. State Department.

The U.S. comment appeared to differ from the Chinese statement on the test. According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, the Chinese defense ministry called the test a “land-based anti-missile technology experiment,” suggesting that it was a test of a missile defense system rather than of an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon.

During his Aug. 13 remarks at the U.S. Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium in Omaha, Neb., Frank Rose, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for space and defense policy, said the United States “has high confidence in its assessment” that China was testing an ASAT weapon.

Neither China nor the United States provided additional details to support its characterization of the test. China said the test took place within its territory and successfully reached the anticipated goal. The U.S. statement called on China to “refrain from destabilizing actions” that threaten the security and sustainability of space.

Also in its statement, the State Department said that, in the test, China had used the same missile system as in a 2007 test in which China shot down one of its own weather satellites. That event, which created thousands of pieces of debris that continue to present a danger in space, used an SC-19 missile. (See ACT, March 2007.)

China has claimed that subsequent tests of its SC-19 missile in 2010 and January 2013 were part of an effort to develop and understand missile-interceptor technology, not to develop ASAT capabilities, but the two technologies are very similar. (See ACT, March 2013.)

In an Aug. 12 e-mail to Arms Control Today, Brian Weeden, a technical adviser to the Secure World Foundation, said the July 23 U.S. statement marked the first time since the 2007 test that the State Department had publicly declared that China conducted an ASAT test. The United States has never publicly acknowledged the 2010 test or two tests in 2005 and 2006, Weeden said. Information related to those tests was made public after the website WikiLeaks published a 2010 State Department cable about the 2010 test.

Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force space analyst, pointed out the lack of specific details from Washington and Beijing about the July 2014 test, saying that, after the 2010 and January 2013 tests, both countries mentioned another missile that had been launched as a target. The lack of information about the target for the recent test makes it unclear whether this was actually another test of the SC-19 missile tested in 2007, 2010, and 2013 or possibly a test of a new ASAT system—believed to be in development and capable of reaching geostationary orbit, about 36,000 kilometers above the earth—that might have been tested in May 2013. (See ACT, April 2014.)

The State Department’s description of the recent test as nondestructive, combined with the lack of details from Beijing about the test, could point to the testing of this new ASAT weapon in geostationary orbit, Weeden said. “It would be distinct enough from a missile defense profile to allow the US to confidently characterize it as an ASAT test,” said Weeden. As the second test of a new system, it would be consistent with the pattern that China followed for the SC-19, carrying out two nondestructive tests in 2005 and 2006 before conducting an actual intercept in 2007, he said.

 

China conducted “a non-destructive test of a missile designed to destroy satellites” on July 23, according to the U.S. State Department.

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 28

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. Political-Level Talks Resume in Early September Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told an Iranian news agency on July 22 that nuclear negotiations between the Iranian and the P5+1 political directors would resume in early September. After nearly three weeks of intense talks, negotiators agreed on July 19 to extend the provisions of the interim agreement and negotiations for about four months. The extension ends on Nov. 24, the one-year anniversary of...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 21

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert will suspend its daily update until talks resume in August, but will update readers of the latest developments as necessary. Four-Month Extension Opens Way for Comprehensive Deal In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 19 in Vienna, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that the negotiations between the United States, other great powers, and Iran to resolve...

Arms Control Association Statement On Extension of P5+1 Nuclear Talks With Iran

(UPDATED 7:45 pm EST) By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director Tonight in Vienna, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that the negotiations between the United States, other great powers, and Iran to resolve concerns about that country's nuclear program will continue for as many as four more months. In a joint statement, Ashton and Zarif said the two sides have agreed to extend the interim agreement (a.k.a. the Joint Plan of Action ) reached on November 24, 2013 and will resume talks on a comprehensive agreement within weeks--most likely in...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 18

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. Extension Announcement Expected Soon Two days before the July 20 deadline to conclude a comprehensive nuclear agreement, it's still not clear when the P5+1 and Iran will agree to the terms of an extension of their nuclear talks or when the extension will be announced. While an extension seems almost certain given comments by a number of leaders and senior officials about progress on some areas and the need for more time to close the gaps in other areas,...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 17

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. The Fog of Diplomacy What began as a quiet day yesterday for journalists covering the P5+1 and Iran talks ended in a flurry of speculation about if and when an extension of the negotiations would be announced. While nothing has been confirmed officially, numerous reports about the timing of such an announcement are circulating in Vienna and beyond. Some heard that the talks might recess as early as Friday; others heard that negotiators may announce an...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 16

By the research staff of the Arms Control Association. To get this P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert delivered to your inbox, sign-up now. This Week in Vienna Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a press conference yesterday afternoon that touched on many of the same themes that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed in his remarks: progress in some areas, the commitment to finding solutions to the remaining gaps, and the importance of reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad...

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