The Proliferation Primer
International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services Subcommittee
United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
A Majority Report - January 1998
Since taking office in 1993, the Clinton Administration has engaged in numerous discussions with senior Chinese officials to persuade them to adhere to international nonproliferation norms. The Administration has also agreed to implement a nuclear cooperation agreement that was reached with China in 1985 for a Chinese pledge of no new Iranian nuclear sales and an assurance to adhere to its pledge of nonassistance to nuclear facilities not under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in Pakistan and other nations. But there has been a reluctance to impose sanctions under several U. S. laws that require them when supported by fact.
Several U. S. Senators have criticized the failure of our government policies and statutes to produce results. 2 Both the Chairman and ranking minority member of this subcommittee, Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Carl Levin, have expressed concerns that past responses by the Administration have been ineffective, 3 and Senator Ri-chard Lugar has said, "[ t] he Administration is showing a poverty of imagination in its responses to the Chinese." 4
This is one of two China proliferation cases where U. S. sanctions have been imposed, in June of 1991 and again in August of 1993. 8 In both instances, M- 11- re-lated sanctions were later waived, in March of 1992 and October of 1994, respectively, after Chinese promises to adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The MTCR is a voluntary arrangement under which the 29 member nations agree to restrict exports of ballistic missiles capable of carrying a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a range of at least 300 kilometers, as well as key missile components and technology, to non-members of the regime. It contains no sanctions mecha-nism even for violators who are members.
Subsequent to the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reports, the Bush Administration imposed sanctions effective in June of 1991 on two government- owned Chi-nese companies: the China Great Wall Industry Corpo-ration (China's satellite launch company) and the China Precision Machinery Import- Export Corporation, which produces the missile. The sanctions denied licenses for the export of U. S. satellites, missile technology and equip-ment, and high- speed computers to China.
Secretary of State James Baker went to China in November of 1991 to resolve proliferation problems, among other issues. During the visit Chinese officials agreed to abide by the MTCR guidelines, and later sent this commitment to the United States in writing.
In return, the U. S. waived sanctions in March of 1992. 9 Nine months after the waiver, the Los Angeles Times reported China's violation of the commitment. 10 Its De-cember 4, 1992 article reported that, according to un-named U. S. intelligence officials, China during the pre-vious two weeks had delivered about two dozen M- 11's to Pakistan through the port of Karachi. The former Pa-kistani Chief of Army Staff, Mirza Aslam Beg, also ad-mitted to Pakistan's purchase of M- 11's from China, but said the missiles were not nuclear capable. 11
Citing a growing body of evidence, in August of 1993 the Clinton Administration imposed sanctions on Pakistan's Ministry of Defense and 11 Chinese defense and aerospace entities for violations of Category 2 of the MTCR. 12 Category 1 covers transfers of complete mis-sile systems, key components such as complete missile stages, and some production equipment, while Category 2 regulates transfers of specific missile components and dual- use goods used to produce missiles.
Shortly after the imposition of sanctions, the Wash-ington Times quoted State Department and intelligence sources as saying that despite "... overwhelming intelli-gence evidence that China in November of 1992 shipped Pakistan key components of its M- 11 missile" -- an MTCR Category 1 violation -- Secretary of State Chris-topher decided China had only committed a Category 2 violation and imposed the mildest form of sanctions pos-sible. Under Secretary of State Lynn Davis defended the decision, saying the U. S. did not have conclusive evidence Pakistan had received complete M- 11's. 13
In October of 1994 the U. S. waived these sanctions, too, in return for another Chinese promise not to export "ground- to- ground missiles" which are "inherently ca-pable" of delivering at least 500 kilograms to at least 300 kilometers. China and the U. S. also reaffirmed their com-mitments to the "guidelines and parameters of the MTCR," although America's commitment to the MTCR was never in question. 14
Since the waiver, a steady stream of press reports have disclosed intelligence information describing Chinese transfers of M- 11's and continued assistance to Pakistan. The Washington Post reported that satellite reconnaissance photographs, intercepted communications, and human intelligence reports suggest that Pakistan has had more than 30 M- 11's since November of 1992. 15
The M- 11's are reportedly stored at Pakistan's Sargodha Air Force Base west of Lahore, where the Paki-stani military has constructed storage sheds for the mis-siles and mobile launchers, as well as related maintenance facilities and housing for launch crews. 16 Soldiers have also been sighted practicing simulated launches with ad-vice from visiting Chinese experts. 17
The Post reported in June of 1996 that all U. S. intel-ligence agencies believe with "high confidence" that Pa-kistan has obtained M- 11 missiles and that Islamabad had probably finished developing nuclear warheads for them. 18 An August of 1996 Washington Post article further disclosed a classified National Intelligence Estimate concluded Pakistan was capable of an M- 11 launch within 48 hours. It also confirmed Pakistan was constructing a factory to produce complete M- 11's or their major com-ponents from Chinese- supplied blueprints and equip-ment. 19 According to the Washington Times, evidence of M- 11's in Pakistan includes photographs of missile can-isters. Yet the State Department, noting the presence of specifically designed M- 11 canisters, ruled there was no proof they held M- 11's. 20
The NPT prohibits exports of nuclear materials, non-nuclear equipment, or materials "... especially designed or prepared for use in..." producing nuclear materials to unsafeguarded facilities in non- nuclear weapon states. 22 Pakistan has agreed to place the Chasma facility under those safeguards, but has refused to accept IAEA full- scope safeguards of its entire nuclear program. Although China acceded to the NPT in 1992, it has refused to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the voluntary, multi-lateral 31 nation effort to harmonize and strengthen ex-port controls of nuclear suppliers. Members of the NSG agree to restrict exports of dual- use and specially designed and prepared nuclear equipment and facilities to only those nations which accept IAEA monitoring of all facili-ties and nuclear materials.
China announced in September of 1997 its imple-mentation of an export licence system for specialized nuclear equipment, as well as its intent to regulate ex-ports of dual- use goods. According to Chinese Ambassa-dor Li Changhe, these dual- use export regulations will be in place by mid- 1998. 23 Establishment of an export con-trol system and membership in the Zangger Committee are two of five conditions the Clinton Administration has placed on implementation of the 1985 U. S.- China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. 24 Although Beijing has refused to join the NSG, it joined the Zangger Commit-tee as a full member in October of 1997. 25 The differ-ences between the NSG and Zangger are important.While the Zangger Committee is similar to the NSG in restricting exports of nuclear and dual- use equipment, it allows exports to any facility under IAEA safeguards, even in countries with unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. The NSG is more restrictive because it requires that all nuclear facilities in the recipient country be under IAEA safe-guards. It is noteworthy that China refuses to require its nuclear customers to accept these full- scope safeguards.
While not a declared nuclear state, Pakistan is a generally ac-knowledged possessor of nuclear weapons. In 1992, Foreign Secre-tary Shahryar Khan was inter-viewed by the Washington Post and acknowledged Islamabad had the components and know- how to as-semble at least one nuclear explo-sive "device," the first public con-firmation of the extent of Pakistan's nuclear program by a Pakistani official. 26
During the interview, which he said was intended to set the record straight and identify the barriers to resumption of U. S. aid, Khan said his country had "... elements which, if put together, would become a device." 27 He confirmed that these elements included weapon "cores" made from highly enriched uranium, a fissile material used in nuclear weapons.
Only a month before the Khan revelations, CIA Di-rector Robert Gates had given a detailed public descrip-tion of the Pakistani nuclear program, testifying, "... we have no reason to believe that either India or Pakistan maintains assembled or deployed nuclear bombs. But such weapons could be assembled quickly, and both coun-tries have combat aircraft that could be modified to de-liver them in a crisis." 28 While Khan, in his Post inter-view, professed ignorance as to the number of nuclear devices his country could assemble from existing components, the Los Angeles Times cited a U. S. intelligence as-sessment concluding Pakistan then had enough material to make up to 10 nuclear weapons. 29
China has helped Pakistan's nuclear program in other ways as well. In early 1996, the Clinton Administration evaluated intelligence reports indicating China had sup-plied ring magnets to a Pakistani nuclear facility, appar-ently in violation of the NPT.
On February 5, 1996, the Washington Times cited in-telligence reports indicating that China had transferred 5,000 ring magnets to the A. Q. Khan Research Labora-tory in Kahuta, Pakistan. Intelli-gence experts were said to believe the magnets were for special sus-pension bearings at the top of a rotating cylinder in gas centrifuges used exclusively for uranium en-richment. 30 The facility in Kahuta, named after the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons pro-gram, is not under IAEA safe-guards. 31
Three months later the New York Times followed up with a story dating the shipment as later than June of 1994, and pricing it at $70,000. 32 The state- owned ex-porter, the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation, a firm under the direct control of the State Council, whose head is China's Pre-mier. 33
On May 11, 1996, the State Department announced sanctions would not be levied against China or Pakistan for the ring magnet transfer, citing a new agreement un-der which Beijing agreed not to assist unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. 34 In testimony before the Senate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn said the Administration was unable to determine that China's senior- most leaders had approved the sale. Mr. Einhorn added the Administration was therefore unable to make a finding the sale required sanctions un-der U. S. law, since it was unable to conclude that it con-stituted "... a willful aiding or abetting of Pakistan's unsafeguarded nuclear program by the government of China." 35 The China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation is, however, owned by the Chinese government.
According to the Washington Times, evidence of M- 11's in Pakistan includes photographs of missile canisters. Yet the State Department, noting the presence of specifically designed M- 11 canisters, ruled there was no proof they held M- 11's.
President Clinton, in a press conference only a few weeks later, seemed to contradict Mr. Einhorn when he said, "I would remind you that when we had clear evi-dence that China was providing ring magnets to Pakistan in ways that we thought were plainly violative of our law and our national interest, we dealt with them about that and were satisfied. I think it's fair to say that on these issues, we will make appropriate determinations and take appropriate action." 36
In addition to being "plainly violative" of U. S. law, the ring magnet sale also violated the NPT. Professor Gary Milhollin, Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, explained: "These [ring magnets] are spe-cialized items. We are not talking about dual- use equip-ment. We are talking about magnets that are made spe-cifically to go into centrifuges that make enriched uranium for bombs. Those were sold by an arm of the China Na-tional Nuclear Corporation, which is an arm of the Chi-nese government. This was a sale by a Chinese govern-ment organization directly to a secret nuclear weapon-making facility in Pakistan of items that were specifically designed to help make nuclear weapon material. In my opinion, it violated China's pledge under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which China signed in 1992. The treaty says that if you export something like that, you have to export it with international inspection. China did not." 37
In testimony to the House International Relations Committee in June of 1996, Under Secretary of State Lynn Davis made a similar assessment, saying China's ring magnet sale was "... not consistent with their obligations as a party to the Nonproliferation Treaty." 38 Furthermore, the 1997 Defense Authorization Act (public law 104- 201) found the Chinese company involved in this sale "... has knowingly transferred specially designed ring magnets to an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility in the Is-lamic Republic of Pakistan," and that the magnets are controlled by the NSG "... as a component of magnetic suspension bearings which are to be exported only to countries that have safeguards of the IAEA over all of their nuclear materials." 39
Mr. Einhorn testified that the Administration believed China had complied with its latest nuclear nonprolifera-tion commitment, and while the U. S. had "... raised con-cerns about certain activities, we have no basis to con-clude that China has acted inconsistently with its May 11 undertaking [not to assist unsafeguarded nuclear fa-cilities]." 40 Reports, however, have surfaced over the past year suggesting Beijing continues to equip and assist Pakistan's nuclear program.
On October 9, 1996, the Washington Times quoted a CIA report of September 14, 1996, describing the Chi-nese sale of a "special industrial furnace and high- tech diagnostic equipment" to Pakistan. The furnace and di-agnostic equipment are dual- use items useable in melt-ing plutonium and uranium for nuclear weapons.
The Times also disclosed a State Department diplo-matic note to China protesting the sale of the equipment to "unsafeguarded nuclear facilities in Pakistan." 41 The CIA report concluded the sale was probably arranged by the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation, the ven-dor of ring magnets to Pakistan, and that senior- level government approval was most likely needed for the trans-action to have occurred.
The Washington Post disclosed on October 10, 1996, China's response to the American complaint. The equip-ment, it explained, was delivered in late 1995 or early 1996, before their pledge not to assist unsafeguarded fa-cilities. Quoting unnamed U. S. officials, the Post said the intelligence community had confirmed this account and added the equipment was apparently delivered to a nuclear reactor under construction by Pakistan at Khushab, which is also not under IAEA safeguards. 42 While it appears this transfer occurred prior to May of 1996 and therefore does not constitute a violation of China's May 11, 1996 nonproliferation pledge, it is an-other example of China's willingness to engage in nuclear proliferation in violation of its NPT obligations.
Even the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency's annual report to Congress did not state China had fully complied with its May 11, 1996 agreement not to pro-vide nuclear assistance to unsafeguarded facilities. In-stead, it noted that while the Administration could not yet stipulate a violation, "... questions remain about con-tacts between Chinese entities and elements associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons program." 43
Iran's possession of the missile was first disclosed in January of 1996 by Vice Admiral Scott Redd, then- com-mander of the U. S. Fifth Fleet. Redd said the C- 802 gave the Iranian military increased firepower and repre-sented a new dimension to the threat faced by the U. S. Navy, stating, "[ i] t used to be we just had to worry about land- based cruise missiles. Now they have the potential to have that throughout the Gulf mounted on ships." 45 In addition to land and sea- based platforms, Iran can also launch the C- 802 from air- based platforms. 46
The latest open source estimate is that Iran has about 40 C- 802's, but this was reported in March of 1996. 47 It is unclear from open sources how many additional C-802's China has supplied since then.
Late in 1995, according to the Washington Times, Pentagon officials recommended declaration of a Chinese violation of the Gore- McCain Iran- Iraq Arms Nonpro-liferation Act of 1992, which requires sanctions for the transfer to either country of "... destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons..." Yet State De-partment officials, including Under Secretary Lynn Davis, opposed invocation of sanctions to avoid damaging rela-tions with China. 48
In Senate testimony, Mr. Einhorn acknowledged the transaction, saying, "... the question of whether China transferred the C- 802 anti- ship cruise missiles to Iran is not in doubt." 49 He further noted, "[ s] uch missiles in-crease China's maritime advantage over other Gulf states, they put commercial shipping at risk, and they pose a new threat to U. S. forces operating in the region." 50
In its annual report, Worldwide Maritime Challenges, published in March 1997, the Office of Naval Intelli-gence discussed the implications of Iran's acquisition of C- 802 missiles and Houdong patrol boats, stating, "... equipped to carry the Chinese C- 802 antiship cruise missile, the Houdongs pose a significant threat to ship-ping in the Persian Gulf." 51 The report added that the C-802 missiles, in concert with Kilo submarines acquired from Russia, provide Iran "... with a capability to threaten naval forces and merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf and affect passage through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's ongoing acquisitions of conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) contribute to continual in-stability in the Persian Gulf." 52
Despite his concern over Iran's new missiles, Mr. Einhorn defended the Administration's anti- sanction po-sition, claiming no violation of Gore- McCain given the lack of "... destabilizing numbers and types..." of missiles. 53 Former U. S. Ambassador to China James Lilly disagreed, testifying there was "... no question that the sale of these missiles is under central control and it violates our law." 54 He went on to note that Iran's possession of C- 802 mis-siles poses a "... clear and present danger to the United States fleet." 55 Ambassador Lilley also decried Adminis-tration inaction, saying of its response, "[ t] ell that to our sailors and airmen in the Persian Gulf who are aware the Iranians now have facing our ships [C- 802] launch ve-hicles for mobility and numerous caves for shelter and concealment along the coast." 56
Prior to Chinese President Jiang Zemin's 1997 visit to the United States, press reports indicated Foreign Min-ister Qian Qichen had assured Secretary Albright Beijing would stop cruise missile sales to Iran. But the Adminis-tration has refused to confirm these reports. 57 On Octo-ber 18, 1997, State Department spokesman James Rubin said, "Secretary Albright has raised in all her meetings with the Chinese foreign minister our deep concerns about the sale of conventional weapons and cruise missiles to Iran. I have no comment on his response." 58
On January 24, 1997, the Washington Times reported that in written responses to the Sen-ate Foreign Relations Commit-tee, Secretary Albright indi-cated Chinese companies sold equipment to Iran that could boost its biological weapons (BW) program. An unnamed U. S. intelligence official was quoted to the effect that the transfer involved equipment and vaccines with applications for civilian medical research as well as biological weapons. 62
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran has the largest CW stockpile in the Third World. 63 In 1995, Gordon Oehler, Director of the CIA's Nonproliferation Center, testified to the Senate that, "Tehran continues to upgrade and expand" its ability to produce and use CW and "is spending large sums of money on long- term capi-tal improvements... which tells us that Tehran fully in-tends to maintain a chemical weapons capability well into the future." 64 In 1996, a Defense Department study con-cluded Iran also has a large BW program which began in the early 1980's and is capable of producing many differ-ent biological weapons. 65
Although the Administration praised China for sign-ing the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993 and for-mally ratifying the treaty on May 4, 1997, it imposed sanctions in May of 1997 on two Chinese companies, five Chinese executives, and a Hong Kong firm for know-ingly assisting Iran's chemical weapons program. The Chinese companies were the Nanjing Chemical Indus-tries Group and an affiliated trading company, the Jiangsu Yongli Chemical Engineering and Technology Import/ Export Corporation. 66 According to the New York Times, the five executives worked for other firms, but acted indi-vidually to sell CW- related items to Iran. 67 The Hong Kong company, Cheong Yee Ltd., was reportedly penal-ized for facilitating transactions between Chinese com-panies and Iranian authorities.
The Chinese companies, now banned from trading with the United States, are not state- owned, although it is unclear if their executives have hidden relationships with the Chinese government or mili-tary, as many Chinese firms do. The sanctioned compa-nies reportedly conduct busi-ness worth about $2 million a year with the U. S. Since this is but a fraction of their total sales, these sanctions are hardly onerous.
The sanctions were the first on Chinese entities for CW- related transfers and were imposed under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Con-trol and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, a law forbidding companies from exporting a variety of chemicals and equipment to countries identi-fied by the U. S. as state sponsors of terrorism. Under this law, the sanctions are imposed for one year, after which the Administration can either waive or continue them.
In November of 1996, the Washington Times disclosed a CIA report titled "Arms Transfers to State Sponsors of Terrorism" which said the China Precision Engineering Institute had agreed to sell Iran's Defense Industries Or-ganization gyroscopes, accelerometers, and test equip-ment, for building and testing missile guidance compo-nents. 70
... the Subcommittee's April 10, 1997 hearing on Chinese proliferation sheds light on "... an area where I think we have not lived up fully to our own domestic requirements in terms of the imposition of sanctions where evidence is plenty clear, or clear enough for me, at least."
Senator Carl Levin
In the wake of the initial New York Times article, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the U. S. was looking closely at the allegations, but had not determined whether China had violated previous commitments or U. S. law. 71 In written statements to Representative Gerald Solomon in June of 1997, seven months after Mr. Burns' remarks and two years after Director Holum's, Secretary of State Albright indicated the Administration was still "reviewing carefully" reports of missile- technology trans-fers to Iran, but had not decided whether the sales met the legal threshold requiring sanctions.
On June 17, 1997, the Washington Times revealed that according to a classified Pentagon intelligence report, Iran, with Chinese assistance, was developing a new short- range ballistic missile. 72 The joint program reportedly involves the development of the NP- 110 solid- propellant missile with a range of 105 miles. According to the Times, "Ira-nian missile technicians traveled to China [in May of 1997] to watch a ground test of a 450 mm- diameter rocket motor to be used in the NP- 110." In addition, China reportedly agreed to sell Iran X- ray equipment to study missile casings and to check for defects in solid- propel-lant, and has supplied telemetry equipment which sends and collects missile guidance data during flight tests. 73
Finally, an unclassified report to Congress from the Director of Central Intelligence, reflecting the consensus view among U. S. intelligence agencies, noted "[ t] he Chi-nese provided a tremendous variety of assistance to both Iran's and Pakistan's ballistic missile programs [in 1996]." 74
In testimony in April of 1997, Mr. Einhorn said while the Administration did not believe China had exported complete missiles since 1994, "... concerns about transfers of missile components and missile technology per-sist, raising serious question about the nature of China's commitment to abide by the MTCR guidelines. At a minimum, the Chinese do not appear to interpret their responsibilities under the guidelines as restrictively as we do, or as other MTCR members do." 75
For years, despite U. S. concerns, China has contin-ued its nuclear cooperation with Iran. In September of 1992, China and Iran finalized an agreement on "nuclear energy" cooperation when President Rafsanjani visited Beijing accompanied by top- level military and atomic energy officials. China reportedly agreed to build two 300 megawatt nuclear reactors in about ten years in Iran. 76 This deal, however, appears to be on hold. In April of 1997, Deputy Assistant Secretary Einhorn testified, "[ i] n 1995, China suspended the sale of two nuclear power reactors to Iran, probably as a result of siting and financ-ing difficulties." 77
There are other questionable Chinese nuclear deals with Iran. The China Nuclear Energy Industry Corpo-ration has reportedly agreed to sell Iran a facility to con-vert uranium ore into uranium hexaflouride gas, which can be enriched to the weapons- grade level. 78 In Senate testimony, Professor Gary Milhollin criticized Chinese leaders for the sale of this facility to Iran, stating, "[ t] here is no peaceful use for enriched uranium in Iran. Enriched uranium is used to fuel reactors, but the only reactors in Iran that could use such fuel are being supplied by Rus-sia, which is also supplying their fuel. The conclusion has to be that Iran wants to use this plant to make atomic bombs. The fact that China is even considering this deal shows that China is quite ready to put nuclear weapon-making capability into the hands of what the United States regards as a terrorist nation." 79China has reportedly also agreed to sell Iran a zirconium production plant and a zero- power research reac-tor. 80 The zirconium plant is a key nuclear fuel cycle fa-cility, used to produce a special metal sheath, zirconium cladding, for nuclear fuel rods used in reactors. Zirco-nium is listed as a controlled item by the Nuclear Suppli-ers Group. U. S. export control law bans sales from the United States without a validated license, and U. S. Cus-toms agents have been involved in enforcement actions to prevent this from occurring. The zero- power research reactor, under construction for several years at Iran's Esfehan nuclear center, will not generate power. While the reactor will not use enriched uranium or produce sig-nificant amounts of plutonium, it will enable Iran to con-duct nuclear research and train technicians. 81
According to Administra-tion officials, during October 1997 summit preparations, Beijing agreed to cancel the ura-nium conversion facility con-tract and halt future nuclear sales to Iran in exchange for an American Presidential certifica-tion permitting implementa-tion of the 1985 U. S.- China Nuclear Cooperation Agree-ment. 82 China reportedly agreed to make public state-ments and provide private writ-ten assurances it would not en-gage in future nuclear sales to Iran. 83
Chinese officials, however, were unwilling to cancel contracts for the zero- power reactor or the zirconium pro-duction plant with Tehran. During President Jiang's visit to Los Angeles, Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang even denied Chinese nuclear cooperation with Iran and called assurances to the U. S. unnecessary. "The question of assurance does not exist," said Shen. "China and Iran currently do not have any nuclear cooperation." 84
The transfer of M- 11's to Pakistan illustrates China's violation of its nonproliferation promises. Press evidence, especially the photographs of M- 11 missile canisters -- canisters specifically designed to transport M- 11's -- is compelling. U. S. intelligence agencies are confident Pa-kistan has obtained M- 11's from China, and in August of 1996, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) -- representing the consensus of the intelligence community -- reportedly concluded that Chinese missile assistance was continuing. 85 Worse, the NIE concluded China is helping to construct an M- 11 factory in Pakistan, making future M- 11 missile transfers unnecessary. 86
Despite the evidential pat-tern, the Administration has not imposed sanctions. In Senate testimony, Mr. Einhorn said sanctions had not been invoked on China for the sale of M- 11 missiles to China "... because our level of confidence is not suffi-cient to take a decision that has very far- reaching consequences." 87 But the Administra-tion appears to have purposely set a standard of evidence so high as to be unattainable. Professor Milhollin sug-gested as much when he said, "I think the State Depart-ment just continues to raise the level over which you have to jump higher and higher as the evidence comes in so that sanctions will never have to be applied and the en-gagement policy can simply be continued. The effect is to really nullify the act of Congress that imposes sanc-tions, because unless the State Department is willing to go forward in good faith and complete the administra-tive process, then the law cannot take any effect." 88
The ring magnet case is an example of an inventive legal interpretation to avoid sanctions under U. S. prolif-eration laws. Mr. Einhorn's suggestion of the absence of approval of China's most senior leaders required for a finding of "... a willful aiding or abetting of Pakistan's unsafeguarded nuclear program by the government of China" shows how high the level of proof has been raised by the Clinton Administration. 89 While specific senior leaders in Beijing may or may not have been aware of the transaction, a Chinese government entity, the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation, clearly was.
The Administration's handling of the ring magnet problem raises two important issues that are threaded throughout all U. S. proliferation encounters with China. First, the Administration claims China's proliferation record remains problematic, but has improved in recent years. Beijing, however, steadfastly denies that a proliferation problem ever existed each time the United States announces resolution of a proliferation dispute. For instance, in Feb-ruary of 1996 a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman stated, "China is a responsible country. We have not trans-ferred, nor will we transfer to any country, equipment or technologies used in manufacturing nuclear weapons." 90
The Administration's reliance on more pledges from the Chinese at the October summit reminds us of Samuel Johnson's observation about his friend's remarriage as "the triumph of hope over experience."
Secondly, Administration officials often claim China has provided clear assurances in private, but these statements are usually contradicted by Chinese public statements. After the "resolution" of the ring magnet dis-pute, Secretary of State Warren Christopher testified to Congress, "[ l] ast week, we reached an understanding with China that it will no longer provide assistance to unsafeguarded programs. Senior Chinese officials have explicitly confirmed our understanding that the Chinese policy of not assisting unsafeguarded nuclear facilities would prevent future sales, future transfers of ring mag-nets." 91
China, however, has never publicly acknowledged transferring ring magnets to Pakistan, and on the very same day as Christopher's testimony, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "[ b] eing a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, China strictly abides by its treaty com-mitments and has never engaged in any activities in viola-tion of its commitments. China's position of opposing nuclear weapons proliferation is constant and unambigu-ous. China will, as usual, continue to honor its interna-tional commitments and play a positive role in maintain-ing regional and world peace and stability." 92 These expe-riences lead us to question whether, in Secretary Albright's words, the Chinese "... have changed their modus operandi." 93
President Clinton's statement at a June 1997 press conference that the ring magnet sale was "plainly violative" of U. S. law is an accurate interpretation of the stat-ute. But, if the ring magnet sale was "plainly violative" of U. S. law, where are President Clinton's "appropriate de-terminations" and "appropriate action[ s]"?
The advanced cruise missiles sold to Iran have in-creased Iran's maritime advantage over its neighbors and have increased the dangers to U. S. military forces in the region. 94 The refusal of the Administration to respond with sanctions on China for putting U. S. troops at risk from C- 802's led the U. S. Senate to adopt a sense of the Senate resolution in protest.
In June of 1997, it passed an amendment by a vote of 96 to 0, saying, "[ t] he delivery of cruise missiles to Iran is a violation of the Iran- Iraq Arms Non- Prolifera-tion Act of 1992 (50 U. S. C. 1701). It is the sense of the Senate to urge the Clinton Administration to enforce the provisions of the [Act] with respect to the acquisition by Iran of C- 802 model cruise missiles." 95
Despite the Senate position, the Administration con-tinues to maintain that C-802 sales are not "destabiliz-ing." During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 17, 1997, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Stanley Roth claimed the C-802 sale "... does not have to be destabiliz-ing if you define it as overturning the ability of the United States to operate in the Persian Gulf. It hasn't done that." 96 Mr. Roth added, "... the U. S. Navy tells us that despite the increased threat from the sale of cruise missiles, it can con-tinue to operate and carry out its mission to the Persian Gulf. And so even though [the Navy] is exceedingly un-happy with this new development, it is not, on the face of it, destabilizing at this point." 97 Such thinking makes un-imaginable what the Administration might find sufficiently destabilizing for sanctions under the Gore- McCain Act.
Another troubling characteristic of the Administration's response is the strategy of delaying a for-mal decision. When confronted with evidence of Chi-nese proliferation, Administration officials will say: "We take the allegations seriously, but a formal decision to im-pose or waive sanctions is a serious step that must be care-fully considered." Over two years ago, ACDA Director Holum's reaction to "substantial indications" of Chinese missile assistance to Iran was, "... we are in a position where we have to consider the question of sanctions." 98 But, the Administration has made no formal decision to impose them, perhaps hoping Congress, if not the military, would forget the problem.
In Senate testimony in April 1997, Professor Milhollin highlighted the Administration's inaction, stat-ing, "I am told that last fall, the Executive Branch fin-ished a number of studies on China's missile and chemi-cal exports to both Iran and Pakistan. The studies con-tained the legal and factual analysis necessary to apply sanctions, but the studies have lain dormant since then. The State Department is now, in effect, choosing not to complete the administrative process. So the result is that the sanctions law is not achieving either deterrence or punishment as Congress intended." 99
Senator Ted Stevens expressed frustration at the Administration's unwillingness to implement the law, stat-ing, "I am coming to the conclusion that maybe the Ad-ministration is so narrowly interpreting our laws that we would have the situation that if a country moved a missile or a poison gas or bacterial warfare system piece by piece, grain by grain, you could not do anything about it until all the grains were there and then it would be a fait accompli." 100
Something can be done about these transfers, and would be if the Administration did not refuse to take actions required under U. S. law. This lack of action is particularly troubling, as China's government knew of the transfers of WMD and missile technology to Iran and Pakistan and either approved the sales or refused to halt them. Mr. Einhorn admitted as much, saying, "China's problematic record on exports can largely be attributed to conscious decisions by Chinese leaders to pursue policies deemed to be in China's national interest. In the case of Pakistan this has involved decisions to bolster the defense capabilities of a close and long- standing friend against the perceived threat from India. In the case of Iran, there has probably been more of a mixture of foreign policy and commercial motivations." 101
Occasionally the Administration does obey statutory sanctions requirements, but only symbolically, as with the de minimus sanctions imposed for the sale of chemical weapons materials and technology to Iran. Those sanc-tions were not applied to the Chinese government, but only on a handful of Chinese individuals and companies. That the actions met the bare requirements of U. S. law considerably minimized their impact. The Washington Post reported: "The sanctions announced yesterday will have minimal economic effect on China, officials said, because they are aimed at individuals and companies that do little business with this country." 102
Secretary Albright defended the Administration's decision not to sanction the Chinese government, saying the U. S. had "... no evidence that the Chinese government was involved" in the CW- related sales to Iran. 103 But other Administration officials, including Mr. Einhorn, readily acknowledge the U. S. has, on many occasions, raised concerns about CW- related sales to Iran with the Chinese government. That government may or may not have formally approved chemical equipment sales to Iran, but government officials in Beijing knew of the transfers, if only because of the concerns expressed by U. S. officials. As Mr. Einhorn said in Senate testimony, China cannot take a "see no evil, hear no evil approach" to chemical exports; as a minimum, this approach should not be cost- free. 104
The imposition of sanctions should not be the first or only weapon used against proliferation, but it should not be allowed to rust from disuse. The United States can selectively use sanctions either to halt these deadly sales or at least raise costs to proliferators. On October 17, 1991, then- Senator Al Gore spoke on the Senate floor of the need for strong actions, such as sanctions, to combat prolifera-tion. He urged governments around the world to make
sales of sensitive technologies "... high crimes under each country's legal system, to devote the resources necessary to find those who have violated those laws or who are con-spiring to violate them, and to punish the violators so heavily as to guarantee the personal ruin of those who are responsible, and to easily threaten the destruction of any enterprise so engaged." 105
Senator Stevens said at a Subcommittee hearing, "I do not like to see charts like the one that we're looking at that indicate that we have had a series of instances and we have had no sanctions, no sanctions, no sanctions, no sanctions. Then you had sanctions and you lifted them within nine months. What does that say to China? It says that our laws are immaterial, really, in terms of our relationships." 106
If the United States does not back its words with actions, China and other suppliers of weapons of mass destruction technology and delivery systems will view American statements of concern as meaningless rhetoric. Senator Stevens went on to observe, "I do not see any reason to be hasty in imposing sanctions. On the other hand, it seems to me that our relationships will deteriorate if we are not very strong in expressing our opinions and fulfilling our commitments to one another." 107 Just as sanctions cannot be the only tool for dealing with proliferation, neither can high- level discussions.
" I am coming to the conclusion that maybe the Administration is so narrowly interpreting our laws that we would have the situation that if a country moved a missile or a poison gas or bacterial warfare system piece by piece, grain by grain, you could not do anything about it until all the grains were there and then it would be a fait accompli."
Ð Senator Ted Stevens
The Administration's rationale for certifying that China has taken steps "... represent[ ing] sufficient progress toward terminating..." nuclear weapon- related assistance to non- nuclear weapons countries, thereby allowing the 1985 U. S.- China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to proceed, is but the most recent example of its "hope over experience" nonproliferation policy toward China.
The Clinton Administration puts forward five actions by China justifying the certification necessary to implement the 1985 agreement. But Implementation of U. S.- China Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement questions remain on whether the actions are as significant as suggested.
ACDA's 1996 Annual Report to Congress states, "... questions remain about contacts between Chinese entities and elements associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons program," and the recent report to Congress by the Director of Central Intelligence says, "China also was the primary source of nuclear- related equipment and technology to Pakistan" in late 1996. 111
During a summit- related Senate staff briefing, an Administration official said, "the question is whether they'll [the Chinese] live up to their assurances [on nuclear nonproliferation]." 112 Representative Lee Hamilton, the ranking member of the House International Relations Committee, stated recently, "[t]here is no question that Chinese behavior in non- nuclear areas -- especially on missiles -- is far from satisfactory. Much more progress is required and the administration needs to press China hard." 113 Hamilton noted further, "China's overall nonprolif-eration record of compliance leaves much to be desired." 114 As long as the Administration's reaction to China's proliferation is "it could be worse," the United States can expect its continuation.
When the Administration announced it would not impose sanctions on China for selling ring magnets to Pakistan, a senior State Department official told reporters the concession was warranted partly because China had promised no future transfers. 115 But when the Chinese government released a statement about the resolution of the dispute eight hours later, it was clear Beijing would not go that far. The Chinese statement referred neither to future sales of ring magnets, the heart of a four month dispute, nor to any pledge by Beijing to refrain from similar exports in the future. 116
According to a Washington Post article on May 14, 1996, "China had refused repeated U. S. requests to make these pledges publicly. To cover the defect, Washington devised an unusual diplo-matic stratagem: U. S. officials would say what they thought China meant to say in public, and the absence of any public Chinese protest would be taken as Beijing's assent." 117 China's refusal to give clear assurances and to comply fully with its commitments will remain routine as long as breeched promises and vague statements are accepted.