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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Opening Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman

United States House of Representatives

International Relations Committee

Hearing on the "U.S. - China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement"

February 4, 1998

The hearing will come to order. Our witness today is the Honorable Robert Einhorn, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation.

Welcome, Mr. Einhorn.

The central question on the table today is how U.S. national interests are served by engaging in nuclear cooperation with China, and in particular, how U.S. non-proliferation objectives are fulfilled by such cooperation.

At a Full Committee hearing on October 11, 1997, the Committee spelled out its criteria for passing judgement on the U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. There were three basic points.

First, we said that the Administration must keep the Congress apprised of its intentions with regard to the Agreement. We urged them to brief regularly the Committee and lay out the Administration's rationale for implementing the Agreement before the October 1997 summit.

I believe the Administration has worked in good faith to meet those requests.

Second, we said that in order to implement the Agreement the Administration must make the required certification and report pursuant to the 1985 and 1990 laws that set conditions on any nuclear cooperation with China.

We said that the certification must stand on its own and that the Administration must adhere to the letter of the law.

The President submitted the certification on January 12, 1998. In part, the purpose of today's hearing is to have the Administration make its case for the certification.

Until that case is heard, we will reserve judgement on whether the certification meets the requirements of the law.

Third, we said that, perhaps most importantly, the Administration would need to convince the Committee that now is the time to change the status quo with regard to nuclear cooperation with China.

And in that regard, I reiterate that it is not only China's nuclear non-proliferation record that is on trial. Clearly, Members must be convinced that China has stopped assisting Pakistan's nuclear weapons procurement program and Iran's efforts to develop an indigenous nuclear weapons capability.

But just as importantly, Members need to know that China is engaging in responsible non-proliferation behavior across the board, including all weapons of mass destruction, as well as conventional weapons.

In addition, Members need to understand why we have appeared to lower our non-proliferation standards by not insisting that China become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before we engage in nuclear cooperation with them.

And finally, Members need to be convinced that, beyond issuing pieces of paper, China has in place a fully functioning and effective export control system.

In that regard, we have been denied the ability to conduct post-shipment verification of our dual-use exports in China, a common practice for safeguarding our exports in many countries of the world, including Syria.

And it should be clear that we have noted the complete absence of any penalties or sanctions in the Chinese export control decrees.

It is in these areas that I do not believe the evidence supports engaging China in nuclear cooperation at this time.

Before proceeding further, there are a couple of procedural matters I would like to address.

We have worked out an arrangement with the Administration whereby we will remain in open session as long as Members have questions to address to Mr. Einhorn that can be answered in that forum. When it is clear that all questions have been exhausted that can be addressed in open session, we will continue the hearing in closed session with Mr. Einhorn who will be joined by Mr. John Lauder, who is the Director of the Non-Proliferation Center at the Central Intelligence Agency.

House and Committee Rules require that we take a roll call vote with a majority of the Committee present to go into closed session.

Therefore, I want to alert our witness and the Committee that when we have a majority of the Members present, I will entertain a motion to go into closed session.

Assuming that vote allows us to go into closed session, we will then continue in open session until all Members have questions.

At this point, I have a series of unanimous consent requests to make.

I ask unanimous consent that a copy of the January 12, 1998, certification package submitted by the President be inserted in the record at the appropriate place.

I ask unanimous consent that a background memorandum prepared by the Congressional Research Service be placed at the appropriate place in the record. I would like to commend Shirley Kan at the CRS for her work in support of our Committee on this issue.

Further, I ask unanimous consent that a document entitled China's Non-Proliferation Words versus China's Nuclear Proliferation Deeds be inserted in the record at the appropriate place.

Mr. Hamilton, would you like to make an opening statement? Are there any other Members who would like to make an opening statement?

Mr. Einhorn, please proceed with your statement.

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