CHINA'S PROLIFERATION ACTIVITY (Senate - March 13, 1998)

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Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I rise today to address a rather disturbing article that appeared not only in the Washington Times but also in the Washington Post, a similar article. The headline in the Times says: `China in New Nuclear Sales Effort.' The headline in the Post: `U.S. Action Stymied China Sale to Iran.'

These articles represent a concern of mine, because they detail China's continuing nuclear proliferation, not just nuclear proliferation, but proliferation to the nation of Iran.

According to these articles, U.S. intelligence discovered secret China-Iran negotiations concerning Chinese transfer of hundreds of tons of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride is a material used in enriching uranium to weapons grade uranium.

This transfer was scheduled to go to Iran's Isfahan Nuclear Research Center. The Isfahan Center is the principal site of Iran's efforts to manufacture the explosive core of an atomic device, according to the articles.

So what we have here, both in the Washington Post and in the Washington Times, is the chronicling of China's effort to send these kinds of components and processes to Iran in order for Iran, a rogue nation, to enhance its capacity to be involved with atomic weapons of mass destruction.

This revelation of new Chinese efforts to aid Iran's nuclear weapons program is deeply troubling, and it follows solemn commitments from Chinese leaders just last October that China would cut off nuclear assistance to Iran.

What is more troubling to me, however, is the fact that the Clinton administration has overlooked more than a decade of similar promises that have been broken just as quickly and routinely as last October's promise has now been revealed to have been broken on the face of the front pages of this city's newspapers.

This continued course by this administration to simply take at face value assurances consistent with other assurances and, unfortunately, consistent with the disregard for those assurances in terms of policy, causes us to question whether or not we should have been racing into these agreements, and particularly according to China the special standing which we have provided to China based on the events of last October.

It is pretty clear to me that, in spite of the fact that China assured us last October that they were going to be adopting a different posture in regard to nuclear proliferation, their policy and their practice was not altered. Their policy and practice of providing this kind of proliferation to rogue nations remains in place.

It is, unfortunately, not new that the Chinese have broken agreements. I will submit for the Record a list of events and times in which the Chinese have said one thing and done another in regard to nuclear proliferation--starting in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, another incident in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997.

Now, this list, which has been assembled by the Nuclear Control Institute, merely chronicles the habit, the practice, and the policy of China in saying one thing and doing another.

A number of us were stunned last year when the administration said it wanted to elevate the standing of China as it related to nuclear technology. We were stunned because we were aware of this list. We were stunned, thinking that if in the summer of 1997 our own CIA labels China as the world's worst proliferater of weapons of mass destruction, why would we 90 days later want to constitute them as a nuclear cooperator and enter into a nuclear agreement with them that would entitle them to higher levels of information, higher degrees of cooperation with the United States?

I will submit this list for the Record. I will not belabor the Senate with all of the documentation here, but I would like the list to be included in the Record and the documentation be available to the Senate and to the American people. I ask unanimous consent that it be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

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CHINA'S NON-PROLIFERATION WORDS VS. CHINA'S NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION DEEDS*

[From the Nuclear Control Institute]

Date and what China said

What China did

1981--`Like many other peace-loving countries, China does not advocate or encourage nuclear proliferation, and we are emphatically opposed to any production of nuclear weapons by racists and expansionists such as South Africa and Israel.'--Yu Peiwen, head of Chinese delegation to Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Xinhua, 8/4/81 In 1981, China supplies South Africa (at that time not a member of the NPT and pursuing a nuclear weapons program) with 60 tons of unsafeguarded enriched uranium. This enriched uranium may have enabled South Africa to triple weapons-grade uranium output at the Valindaba facility. 1 In 1981, other unsafeguarded Chinese exports include highly enriched uranium, uranium hexaflouride, and heavy water to Argentina, and heavy water to India. Both nations are non-NPT states with nuclear weapons programs at the time. 2
1983--`China does not encourage or support nuclear proliferation.'--Vice Premier Li Peng, Xinhua, 10/18/83 In 1983, China contracts with Algeria, then a non-NPT state, to construct a large, unsafeguarded plutonium-production reactor. Construction of the reactor complex began after November 1984--well after China's April 1984 pledge to subject all future nuclear exports to IAEA safeguards, and while China is negotiating a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States. 3 China also supplies Algeria with large hot cells, which can be used to handle highly radioactive spent fuel to separate plutonium. 4
1984--`We are critical of the discriminatory treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, but we do not advocate or encourage nuclear proliferation. We do not engage in nuclear proliferation ourselves, nor do we help other countries develop nuclear weapons.'--Premier Zhao Ziyang, White House state dinner on 1/10/84, Xinhua, 1/11/84 (Note: A U.S. official later said that `These were solemn assurances with in fact the force of law,' AP, 6/15/84) U.S. officials reveal that, in the early 1980s, China provided Pakistan with the design for a nuclear weapon, and probably enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for one to two bombs. 5
1985-86--`China has no intention, either at the present or in the future, to help non-nuclear countries develop nuclear weapons.'--Li Peng, Chinese Vice Premier, Xinhua, January 18, 1985
`The Chinese made it clear to us that when they say they will not assist other countries to develop nuclear weapons, this also applies to all nuclear explosives . . . We are satisfied that the [nonproliferation] policies they have adopted are consistent with our own basic views.'--Ambassador Richard Kennedy, Department of State, Congressional testimony, 10/9/85
`Discussions with China that have taken place since the initialling of the proposed [nuclear] Agreement have contributed significantly to a shared understanding with China on what it means not to assist other countries to acquire nuclear explosives, and in facilitating China's steps to put all these new policies into place. Thus, ACDA believes that the statements of policy by senior Chinese officials, as clarified by these discussions, represent a clear commitment not to assist a non-nuclear-weapon state in the acquisition of nuclear explosives.'--ACDA, `Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement,' submitted to Congress on 7/24/85 with the U.S./China Agreement for Cooperation, 7/19/85
`China is not a party to the NPT, but its stance on the question is clear-cut and above-board . . . it stands for nuclear disarmament and disapproves of nuclear proliferation . . . In recent years, the Chinese Government has more and more, time and again reiterated that China neither advocates nor encourages nuclear proliferation, and its cooperation with other countries in the nuclear field is only for peaceful purposes': Ambassador Ho Qian Jiadong, speech given at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, 6/27/85 (quoted by Amb. Richard Kennedy in congressional testimony, 7/31/85)
In addition to covering up its export of the unsafeguarded reactor to Algeria, China secretly sells Pakistan tritium, an element used in the trigger of hydrogen bombs as well as to boost the yield of fission weapons. 6
1987-89--`China does not advocate or encourage nuclear proliferation, nor does it help other countries develop nuclear weapons.'--Vice Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, Beijing Review, 3/30/87
`As everyone knows, China does not advocate nor encourage nuclear proliferation. China does not engage in developing or assisting other countries to develop nuclear weapons.'--Foreign Ministry spokesman, Beijing radio, 5/4/89
In 1989, China agrees to build a light-water reactor for Pakistan, begins assisting Iran's development of indigenous manufacturing capability for medium-range ballistic missiles, and assists Iraq in the manufacture of samarium-cobalt ring magnets for uranium-enrichment centrifuges. 7
1990--`. . . the Chinese government has consistently supported and participated in the international community's efforts for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.'--Ambassador Hou Zhitong, Xinhua, 4/1/91 In September 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the imposition of an international trade embargo, China provides Iraq with lithium hydride, a chemical compound useful in both boosted-fission and thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs, as well as in ballistic missile fuel. 8
1991--`The report claiming that China provides medium-range missiles for Pakistan is absolutely groundless. China does not stand for, encourage, or engage itself in nuclear proliferation and does not aid other countries in developing nuclear weapons.'--Foreign ministry spokesman Wu Janmin, Zhongguo Ximwen She, 4/25/91 Sometime around 1991, China provides ballistic missile technology to Syria, including the nuclear-capable M-9 missile. In 1993, a Chinese corporation exports ammonium perchlorate, a missile fuel precursor, to the Iraqi government via a Jordanian purchasing agent. 9 In August 1993, the United States imposes sanctions on China for exporting nuclear-capable M-11 ballistic missiles to Pakistan.
1991--`China has struck no nuclear deals with Iran . . . This inference is preposterous.' Chinese embassy official Chen Guoqing, rebutting a claim that China had sold nuclear technology to Iran, letter to Washington Post, 7/2/91 In 1991, China supplies Iran with a research reactor capable of producing plutonium 10 and a calutron, a technology that can be used to enrich uranium to weapons-grade. 11 (Calutrons enriched the uranium in the `Little Boy' bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and were at the center of Saddam Hussein's effort to develop an Iraqi nuclear bomb.)
1994--`China does not engage in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction . . .'--Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, AP newswire, 10/4/94 China supplies a complete nuclear fusion research reactor facility to Iran, and provides technical assistance in making it operational. 12 China, with apparent U.S. acquiescence, agrees to replace France as supplier of low-enriched uranium fuel for India's U.S.-supplied Tarapur reactors. The U.S. cut off supply of LEU soon after India's nuclear explosion of 1974. This LEU supply makes it easier for India to concentrate other nuclear assets on its weapons program. 13
1995--`China has never transferred or sold any nuclear technology or equipment to Pakistan . . . We therefore hope the U.S. Government will not base its policy-making on hearsay.'--Foreign Ministry Deputy Secretary Shen Guofang, Hong Kong, AFP, 3/26/96 (after discovery of the ring magnet sale to Pakistan) In 1995, China exports 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan. Such magnets are integral components of high-speed gas centrifuges of the type used by Pakistan to enrich uranium to weapons-grade. 14
1996--`. . . We have absolutely binding assurances from the Chinese, which we consider a commitment on their part not to export ring magnets or any other technologies to unsafeguarded facilities . . . The negotiating record is made up primarily of conversations, which were detailed and recorded, between U.S. and Chinese officials.'--Under Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff, congressional testimony, 5/16/96
`China's position on nuclear proliferation is very clear . . . It does not advocate, encourage, or engage in nuclear proliferation, nor does it assist other countries in developing nuclear weapons. It always undertakes its international legal obligations of preventing nuclear proliferation . . . China has always been cautious and responsible in handling its nuclear exports and exports of materials and facilities that might lead to nuclear proliferation.'--Statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui Tiankai, Beijing, Xinhua, 9/15/97
In July 1997, a CIA report concludes that, in the second half of 1996, `China was the single most important supplier of equipment and technology for weapons of mass destruction' worldwide. 15 The report also states that, for the period July to December 1996--i.e. after China's May 11, 1996 pledge to the United States not to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities--China was Pakistan's `primary source of nuclear-related equipment and technology . . .' 16
1997--`The question of assurance does not exist. China and Iran currently do not have any nuclear cooperation . . . We do not sell nuclear weapons to any country or transfer related technology. This is our long-standing position, this policy is targeted at all countries.' Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang, Los Angeles, 11/2/97, Reuters, 11/3/97
`I wish to emphasize once again China has never transferred nuclear weapons or relevant technology to other countries, including Iran . . . China has never done it in the past, we do not do it now, nor will we do it in the future.'--Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang, Kyodo, 10/21/97
According to a CIA report, China is `a key supplier' of nuclear technology to Iran, exporting over $60 million worth annually. Fourteen Chinese nuclear experts are reportedly working at Iranian nuclear facilities. 17

END NOTES


[Footnote] *China's non-proliferation statements are documented in Rep. Benjamin Gilman, `China's Nuclear Nonproliferation Promises: 1981-1997,' Congressional Record, November 5, 1997, p. H10073. China's proliferation deeds are documented in Steven Dolley, `China's Record of Proliferation Misbehavior,' Nuclear Control Institute, September 29, 1997.
[Footnote] 1 Leonard Spector, Nuclear Ambitions, 1990, p. 274; Michael Brenner, `People's Republic of China,' in International Nuclear Trade and Nonproliferation, Ed. William Potter, 1990, p. 253.
[Footnote] 2 Judith Miller, `U.S. is Holding Up Peking Atom Talks,' New York Times, September 19, 1982; Brenner, ibid,; Gary Milhollin and Gerard White, `A New China Syndrome: Beijing's Atomic Bazaar,' Washington Post, May 12, 1991, p. C4.
[Footnote] 3 Vipin Gupta, `Algeria's Nuclear Ambitions,' International Defense Review, #4, 1992, pp. 329-330.
[Footnote] 4 Mark Hibbs, `Move to Block China Certification Doesn't Concern Administration,' Nucleonics Week, August 7, 1997, p. 11.
[Footnote] 5 Leslie Gelb, `Pakistan Link Perils U.S.-China Nuclear Pact,' New York Times, June 22, 1984, p. A1; Leonard Spector et al., Tracking Nuclear Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1995, p. 49.
[Footnote] 6 Milhollin and White, `A New China Syndrome,' op cit., p. C4.
[Footnote] 7 `Iraq and the Bomb,' MidEast Markets, December 11, 1989, p. 130.
[Footnote] 8 Tim Kelsey, `Chinese Arms Dealers Flaunt U.N. Embargo--China Ships Vital Nuclear Cargo to Iraq,' London Sunday Independent, September 30, 1990, reprinted in Congressional Record, October 18, 1990, p. H10531.
[Footnote] 9 Export Control News, December 30, 1994, p. 14.
[Footnote] 10 Kenneth Timmerman, `Tehran's A-Bomb Program Shows Startling Progress,' Washington Times, May 8, 1995. According to Timmerman, China and Iran did not report the 1991 purchase of this reactor to the IAEA.
[Footnote] 11 Marie Colvin, `Secret Iranian Plans for a Nuclear Bomb,' Sunday Times (London), July 28, 1991; Russell Watson, `Merchants of Death,' Newsweek, November 18, 1991, p. 38.
[Footnote] 12 Gary Milhollin, Wisconsin Project, Testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, September 18, 1997, p. 8.
[Footnote] 13 Mark Hibbs, `Reported VVER-1000 Sale to India Raises NSG Concern on Safeguards,' Nucleonics Week, January 12, 1995, p. 1.
[Footnote] 14 Tim Weiner, `Atom Arms Parts Sold to Pakistan by China, U.S. Says,' New York Times, February 8, 1996, p. A1.
[Footnote] 15 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Nonproliferation Center, `The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions,' 1997, p. 5. See also Mark Hibbs, `DOD, ACDA Want China Accord Link to Other Weapons Export Limits,' Nucleonics Week, August 21, 1997, p. 2; Tim Weiner, `China is Top Supplier to Nations Seeking Powerful, Banned Arms,' New York Times, July 3, 1997, p. A10.
[Footnote] 16 CIA report, `The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction,' op cit., p. 5.
[Footnote] 17 CIA report, ibid.; Con Coughlin, `U.S. Sounds Alarm Over Iran Nuclear Threat,' Sunday Telegraph (London), February 23, 1997, p. 24.
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Mr. ASHCROFT. Now, this most recent set of incidents, of course, revealed in the Washington Times today, and in the Washington Post as well, and I am sure in other newspapers across the country, was the subject of a special briefing to Members of the U.S. Senate very recently. I was not a part of that briefing and I do not know what was said at the special briefing, but the information that I am including is information from these news sources. I want to make it clear that I would not be breaching any special information provided to the Senate. I was not a party to it. But the information is well known.

What is perhaps in some measure troubling is that the administration sought to portray this episode with China as a success. They say, `Look what we stopped. Look what we were able to do.' They say that China responded more swiftly to our complaints this time, that when we caught them red-handed in the process of breaking their word, they were more ready to admit they were breaking their word. To hear administration officials talk, the swiftness of China's response to the exposure of their proliferation activity is grounds for disregarding that the administration was hoodwinked by the Chinese all along.

Well, the inventory since 1981 is sort of the litany, if you will, of the insistent and nagging record of proliferation violation after proliferation violation after proliferation violation upon proliferation violation. These things provided a basis for saying to the administration, we should not trust the Chinese, at least without some record, without some record that proliferation will stop, and yet within days after our CIA labeled the Chinese as the world's worst proliferaters, we in this administration seemed ready to believe their next assurance. And, of course, these newspapers indicate that our belief should have been in their practice and policy of the past, which has been a policy of betrayal and a policy of disregard, not a policy of compliance with agreements relating to nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Who knows what other nuclear assistance projects China has in store with Iran or other rogue regimes. Who knows how many such projects we have not detected, have not called their hand on, have not asked them to stop because we did not know about them. We happen to intercept information here.

Given China's past proliferation record, and given that the 1997 CIA report that called China--and I quote--`the most significant supplier of weapons of mass destruction-related goods and technology to foreign countries'--that was a quote; the CIA labeled them that less than a year ago--it is pretty clear that people of good sense would say, maybe we ought to ask that they be compliant, maybe we ought to ask that they observe their agreements for at least a short interval before we endow them with our full trust and confidence.

I opposed President Clinton's decision to begin nuclear cooperation with China based on the CIA report, based on this heritage of denying and breaking these agreements. And now the newspapers of this morning, from both the right and the left, if you will, have said that China was in the process of breaking these agreements currently after China has given its word.

In order for United States-China nuclear cooperation to proceed, the President certified to Congress that China--and this is what he certified--`is not assisting and will not assist any nonnuclear-weapon state, either directly or indirectly, in acquiring nuclear explosive devices or the material and components for such devices.'

The President's haste to make this certification seriously undermined U.S. counterproliferation credibility, credibility that would be desperately needed just a few weeks later in a confrontation with Saddam Hussein over the same issue of the threat of weapons of mass destruction--not a unique issue.

Mr. President, the startling inconsistencies in this administration's policy regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, these inconsistencies are putting the national security of our country at risk. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks about NATO's new central mission as combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The United States almost went to war last month in the Persian Gulf over the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

We still face the prospect of having to use military force to address the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. And yet, in spite of all this, the administration's rhetoric on counterproliferation--in spite of the continuing object lesson of Saddam Hussein and the threat posed by his terrorist government--the Clinton administration has entered into a nuclear cooperation agreement with China, the world's worst proliferater of weapons of mass destruction. And we know, as of this week, that China is repudiating the basis of those agreements.

Just as Saddam Hussein has outmaneuvered this administration to keep his weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, China has outmaneuvered this administration to continue to proliferate weapons of mass destruction to Iran. Not only is Beijing continuing to pursue nuclear assistance to Iran, but, according to the CIA, China is a major supplier to Iran of chemical weapons and missiles technology as well.

I call on the President to put a halt to nuclear cooperation with China. The President, in my opinion, has pursued a policy of blind engagement with the Chinese. It is a policy which disregards the facts, the litany of breaches on the part of the Chinese. It disregards the facts of continuing breaches of their agreements by the Chinese who continue to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. In light of the reports on China's continuation of proliferation activity, the proposed United States-China summit meeting in June should be reconsidered.

Mr. President, the decision to begin nuclear cooperation with China was a political one. It was driven by the administration's desire to have a `meaningful' meeting, an event strategy. Well, `meaningful' events cannot replace substantive foreign policy. We cannot say in one part of the world to Saddam Hussein, `Well, we'll go to war with you over weapons of mass destruction,' while we are winking at someone else, saying, `Well, it's OK if you continue to break your word and proliferate weapons of mass destruction' to equally dangerous rogue regimes. It undermines America's credibility in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is not worth the photo-op that we get from the Chinese by having a summit if we have to destroy our policy and threaten the security of this globe to do it.

I believe that it is time for us to have a policy, a policy that is unmistakable and clear and a policy that is respected, that weapons of mass destruction are not to be tolerated and that the United States will not extend privileges of nuclear cooperation to those who would take nuclear resources and make them available to rogue nations as weapons of mass destruction.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's 10 minutes has expired.

Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I yield the floor and thank the Chair.

Mr. GLENN addressed the Chair.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.

END