Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

What the Cox Report Does and Does Not Say about Israeli Technology Transfer to China

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

What the Cox Report Does and Does Not Say about Israeli Technology Transfer to China

Article excerpt

What the Cox Report Does and Does Not Say About Israeli Technology Transfer to China

On May 25, 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives released a declassified version of its investigation into China's illegal acquisition of U.S. nuclear and military technology. The Report of the Select Committee On U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China -- called the Cox report after House Policy Committee Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) -- details China's multifaceted campaign to obtain U.S. military technology and hardware from the United States and third countries.

Included in the committee's declassified findings is a brief mention of Israel's role in providing U.S. weapons technology illegally to China. More important than what is included, however, is the volume of publicly available information, much of it from U.S. government sources, that has been left out of the report's findings.

THE THIRD COUNTRY

One of China's methods used to obtain U.S. military technology, according to the Cox report, involves illegally transferring technology from third countries (p. 20). "To fill its short-term technological needs in military equipment, the PRC has made numerous purchases of foreign military systems. The chief source of these systems is Russia, but the PRC has acquired military technology from other countries as well," the report reads (p. 24). Aside from Russia and the United States, the only other country named in the Cox report as a provider of weapons technology to China is Israel (p. 25).

The short section explaining Israel's role in providing U.S. weapons technology to China is extraordinarily brief, lacks several important details, and excludes an enormous amount of information pertinent to the Cox report. That section reads: "Recent years have been marked by increased Sino-Israeli cooperation on military and security matters. Israel has offered significant technology cooperation to the PRC, especially in aircraft and missile development. Israel has provided both weapons and technology to the PRC, most notably to assist the PRC in developing its F-10 fighter and airborne early warning aircraft."

The section explaining Israel's role excludes an enormous amount of information.

The Cox report fails to mention that China's F-10 is a nearly identical copy of Israel's failed Lavi fighter, a project that was terminated in 1987 after receiving more than $1.5 billion from U.S. taxpayers. The Cox report also fails to mention that Israel's transfer of Lavi technology, which now has been confirmed by the United States, China, and Israel, is a direct violation of U.S. arms export laws and dozens of U.S.-Israel agreements. Even Israeli officials have stated publicly that more than 50 percent of the Lavi is of U.S. origin -- which is an exceedingly conservative estimate, considering the fact that some 730 U.S. firms contributed to the Lavi's development. What is not stated by Israel, however, or the United States for that matter, is that all U.S.-made components and technology related to the Lavi project are protected by U.S. arms export laws that forbid the retransfer of that technology to third countries without U.S. permission, which in this case has not been given. (For more on Israel's retransfer of the Lavi to China, see: "U.S. Military Technology Sold by Israel to China Upsets Asian Power Balance," January 1996 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p. …

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