China's Broken Promises Outlined

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Gertz

China has failed to live up to promises made to the United States to curb exports of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile delivery systems, according to a senior U.S. senator.

"During the past 20 years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has made 15 formal nonproliferation pledges - seven related to the proliferation of nuclear technology, six regarding the transfer of missile technology and two commitments undertaken at the time the PRC joined the Biological Weapons Convention in 1997," Sen. Jesse Helms stated in releasing a 20-year timeline highlighting Chinese government proliferation activities that contradict promises to curb such sales.

"None of these pledges has been honored," he said.

Mr. Helms, North Carolina Republican and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said China has "repeatedly and massively" violated its arms sales promises and has become "an increasingly aggressive proliferator." "At the same time, successive U.S. administrations have been reluctant to use nonproliferation sanctions aggressively," he said. "In fact, there has been a constant willingness to waive sanctions in exchange for commitments, rather than results."

Mr. Helms said in a "dear colleague" letter to senators that he hopes to see a re-evaluation of U.S.-China relations as a result of China's poor weapons-proliferation record.

The senator said China is seeking to launch U.S. satellites for profit and he urged the Bush administration not to loosen U.S. export restrictions on satellite sales to China.

Blocking satellite sales to China "would make clear that the United States will not tolerate continued proliferation of nuclear and missile technology," he said.

Mr. Helms said the chart showing a timeline of Chinese promises and violations of those promises through arms sales shows "U.S. national security clearly is being jeopardized by continued Chinese proliferation."

"It's time for China to behave responsibly, or risk jeopardizing commercial relations with the United States," he said.

The chart, based on unclassified and declassified government documents, shows Chinese weapons sales from 1981 to 2001. They include nuclear weapons goods sold to Pakistan and Iran as well as ballistic missile transfers to Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Chinese government promises have included numerous "pledges" and agreements not to sell nuclear or missile goods to states seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Four senior Republican senators, including Mr. Helms, wrote a letter to President Bush earlier this month urging him not to waive sanctions imposed on China for the 1989 massacre of student protesters in Tiananmen Square.

The senators, including Sens. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, said China's sales of missiles and related technology are a key reason for the urgent need to develop missile defenses.

China has transferred missiles and equipment to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Libya during the past two decades despite six different promises to curb such transfers, the senators said.

In November, Beijing promised again not to assist any nation in developing strategic nuclear missiles. However, there are continued U.S. intelligence reports of Chinese missile-related sales in violation of the promise, U.S. officials said.

The four senators stated that Congress' intent in slapping sanctions on China in 1989 was aimed at pressuring Beijing to improve its record of human rights abuses.

"Regrettably, the PRC continues to engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights," they said, noting at least 220 Falun Gong members have died in Chinese police custody.

China also is holding more than 20 U.S. citizens and permanent residents, they said. …