China-Iran Missile Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Gertz, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

CHINA-IRAN MISSILE SALES

China is continuing to provide advanced missiles and other conventional arms to Iran and may be doing so in violation of U.N. sanctions against the Tehran regime, according to a draft report by the congressional U.S.-China Commission.

China continues to provide Iran with what could be considered advanced conventional weapons, the report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission says.

According to the report, which will be made public Nov. 16, China sold $312 million worth of arms to Iran, second only to Russia, after Congress passed the Iran Freedom Support Act in 2006 that allows the U.S. government to sanction foreign companies that provide advanced arms to Iran.

The report also noted that, after Russia began cutting back arms transfers to Iran in 2008, China became the largest arms supplier to the Iranian military.

Most of the weapons transfers involved sales of Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles, including C-802 missiles that China promised the United States in 1997 would not be exported to Iran.

China also built an entire missile plant in Iran last year to produce the Nasr-1 anti-ship cruise missile.

Because of the relatively short range of these missiles, China's provision of them to Iran does not violate the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act of 2006, which seeks to prevent the transfer of only those missiles that can carry a 500-kilogram warhead more than 300 kilometers, the report says.

It is possible, however, that these transactions violate the Iran Freedom Support Act, or the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, which both use the ambiguous term 'advanced conventional weapons.'"

Regarding China's professed claims to have ended all backing for Iran's nuclear- and ballistic-missile programs, the report says there has been speculation that China, or Chinese entities, have quietly continued to provide some support for Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile capabilities.

The report says China also is supporting North Korea's military and providing economic and technical assistance to Pyongyang.

The report concludes: Despite Beijing's stated claim to be acting as a responsible major power, China continues to place its national interests ahead of regional stability by providing economic and diplomatic support to countries that undermine international security.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Wang Baodong denied China violated U.N. sanctions.

When it comes to the issue of nonproliferation, China has been strictly adhering to the relevant U.N. resolutions and faithfully carries out its international obligations while strictly implementing its relevant domestic policies and regulations in the field.

He said the commission should cast off its Cold War mentality, respect the facts and stop making unwarranted allegations against China.

MISSILE DEFENSE LIMITS

The Obama administration, despite public claims to the contrary, appears ready to try and limit U.S. missile defenses in agreements, according to a key House Republican leader.

Rep. Michael R. Turner , Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said during a hearing Wednesday that he is concerned the administration is working to amend the NATO-Russia Council charter to create guarantees regarding missile defense.

That has no support here and should be a nonstarter, Mr. Turner said in a prepared statement for the hearing.

The charter outlines relations between Russia's government and NATO members for the council, which was created in 2002 as part of the alliance.

Moscow, for the past several years, has been demanding legal guarantees that U.S. missile defenses in Europe will not be used to target Russian missiles - guarantees that missile defense advocates say would limit U. …