News



DATE=6/12/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-40674
TITLE=CHINA SATELLITE CONTROVERSY
BYLINE=DAVID SWAN
DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO: AS PRESIDENT CLINTON PREPARES TO VISIT CHINA LATER THIS 
MONTH, HIS RECORD OF DEALING WITH CHINA IS UNDER ATTACK ON 
SEVERAL FRONTS HERE IN WASHINGTON.  THE REPUBLICAN-LED SENATE HAS
BEGUN PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE LATEST ALLEGATIONS - THAT NATIONAL 
SECURITY WAS COMPROMISED BY A SERIES OF U-S SATELLITE LAUNCHES ON
CHINESE ROCKETS.  V-O-A'S DAVID SWAN REPORTS.

TEXT: THE PRESIDENT USED PART OF A MAJOR PRE-SUMMIT SPEECH TO 
DEFEND WHAT HE PREVIOUSLY CALLED A ROUTINE POLICY.

                        // CLINTON ACT //

         LICENSING THESE LAUNCHES ALLOWS US TO MEET THE DEMAND 
         FOR AMERICAN SATELLITES, AND HELPS PEOPLE ON EVERY 
         CONTINENT SHARE IDEAS, INFORMATION AND IMAGES, THROUGH 
         TELEVISION, CELLULAR PHONES AND PAGERS.

                          // END ACT //

BUT IN 1996, A LONG MARCH ROCKET BLEW UP, KILLING SCORES OF 
PEOPLE AND DESTROYING A SATELLITE BUILT BY THE LORAL COMPANY.  
LORAL AND HUGHES CORPORATION ENGINEERS ANALYZED THE DISASTER, 
SHARING THEIR FINDINGS WITH THE CHINESE.

THE OPPOSITION REPUBLICANS NOW CHARGE THIS TRANSFER OF DATA COULD
HELP BEIJING IMPROVE ITS LONG-RANGE MISSILES OR I-C-B-MS, WHICH 
COULD SOMEDAY HIT THE UNITED STATES.  SENATE INTELLIGENCE 
COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN RICHARD SHELBY IS LEADING AN INQUIRY INTO THE 
AFFAIR.

                        // SHELBY ACT //

         WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE NUCLEAR WARHEAD, VIRTUALLY 
         EVERY COMPONENT OF A CIVILIAN, A SPACE-LAUNCH BOOSTER, 
         IS SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL TO I-C-B-M COMPONENTS.

                          // END ACT //

REPUBLICANS ASK WHY MR. CLINTON APPROVED ANOTHER LAUNCH THIS YEAR
WHEN THE 1996 INCIDENT WAS UNDER A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.  THE 
LAWMAKERS ALSO QUESTION A DECISION TO SHIFT CONTROL OVER 
SATELLITE EXPORTS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO THE COMMERCE 
DEPARTMENT, OVER THE OBJECTIONS OF THEN-SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN
CHRISTOPHER.  THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE'S FIRST HEARING SUGGESTS
THE ANSWERS MAY  NOT  BE SIMPLE.  THIS BECAME APPARENT AS SENATOR
SHELBY QUESTIONED KATHERINE SCHINASI, A GOVERNMENT (G-A-O) 
OFFICIAL WHO REPORTED ON THE HISTORY OF THE LAUNCHES.  

                   // SHELBY & SCHINASI ACT //

         (SHELBY) WOULD IT BE FAIR TO SAY WHAT YOU'VE DESCRIBED 
         HERE IS A RATHER LOOSE SYSTEM OF CONTROLS DEALING WITH 
         EXPORTS?  (SCHINASI)  NO,  I DON'T THINK IT WOULD BE A 
         LOOSE SYSTEM.  (SHELBY) WOULD IT BE A TIGHT SYSTEM?  
         (SCHINASI) I THINK IT'S A VERY COMPLICATED SYSTEM.

                          // END ACT //

CRITICS ARGUE THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN BROKEN FOR YEARS.  THEY SAY THE
WHITE HOUSE KNEW THE CHINESE SOLD MISSILES TO OTHER COUNTRIES - 
BUT OFFICIALS TURNED A BLIND EYE, TO PROTECT AMERICA'S TIES WITH 
BEIJING.  GARY MILHOLLIN HEADS THE PRIVATE "WISCONSIN PROJECT ON 
NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL."

                       // MILHOLLIN ACT //

         WHETHER OR  NOT  OUR SATELLITE POLICY HAS CAUSED U-S 
         MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO GO TO CHINA, IT HAS CERTAINLY MADE
         IT EASIER FOR CHINESE MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO GO TO 
         PAKISTAN.

                          // END ACT //

WHILE CONCERNS ABOUT CHINESE ARMS SALES ARE  NOT  NEW THE 
SATELLITE CONTROVERSY HAS PUSHED THE ISSUE BACK INTO THE 
SPOTLIGHT.  THE WHITE HOUSE HAS ALWAYS SAID THE EVIDENCE OF 
MISSILE TRANSFERS TO PAKISTAN WAS  NOT  STRONG ENOUGH TO WARRANT 
PUNISHING CHINA.  RETIRED INTELLIGENCE OFFICER GORDON OEHLER 
(EDS: PRONOUNCED AY- LER) DISAGREES.

                        // OEHLER ACT //

         THERE IS  NO  QUESTION IN MY MIND WHATSOEVER ABOUT THIS 
         - THE MISSILES WERE TRANSFERRED.  THE EVIDENCE COMES 
         FROM MANY SOURCES, VERY GOOD SOURCES.

                          // END ACT //

PRESIDENT REAGAN FIRST CLEARED U-S SATELLITES FOR LAUNCH IN 
CHINA, IN 1988.  THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION CONTINUED THE POLICY - 
AND WAS CRITICIZED FOR IT BY CANDIDATE BILL CLINTON IN 1992.  BUT
NOW, WITH HIS FIRST TRIP TO CHINA JUST DAYS AWAY, THE ISSUE IS 
ALREADY CAUSING MORE TROUBLE FOR MR. CLINTON THAN FOR EITHER OF 
HIS PREDECESSORS. (SIGNED)

NEB/DS/GE

12-Jun-98 2:34 PM EDT (1834 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.