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General Who Threatened L.A. Tours U.S. on Chinese Mission: Others in Military Delegation Sold Arms, Missiles Abroad

By Gertz, Bill | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

General Who Threatened L.A. Tours U.S. on Chinese Mission: Others in Military Delegation Sold Arms, Missiles Abroad


Gertz, Bill, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The Chinese officer who warned last year that Beijing could attack Los Angeles with a nuclear missile has been traveling in the United States with Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian.

The officer, Lt. Gen. Xiong Guangkai, was trying to deter U.S. involvement with Taiwan. He is deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for intelligence and part of the 20-member Chinese delegation that ended a 10-day visit to the United States in Hawaii yesterday.

According to U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Gen. Xiong told former Assistant Defense Secretary Charles Freeman in October 1995 that China's nuclear forces were sufficient to deter the United States from intervening on the side of Taiwan in regional conflict over the island.

The officials said it was Gen. Xiong who bluntly told Mr. Freeman that the United States could no longer pressure China with the threat of using nuclear arms, as occurred during the Korean War.

Mr. Freeman, reached by telephone, said a Chinese official told him "in the end, you care a lot more about Los Angeles than you do about Taipei" in the conversation about nuclear arsenals.

He wouldn't identify the official who made the remark but said the general "would share that view."

Mr. Freeman relayed the conversation to National Security Adviser Anthony Lake during a meeting in January, and other U.S. officials said it was an implicit threat by Beijing.

Mr. Freeman said news reports of the Chinese remark, first disclosed by the New York Times, were taken out of context.

"It was in the context of deterrence and in retaliation for the United States' first use of nuclear weapons," Mr. Freeman said in an interview.

Mr. Freeman, former deputy chief of mission in the U.

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General Who Threatened L.A. Tours U.S. on Chinese Mission: Others in Military Delegation Sold Arms, Missiles Abroad
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