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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Office of the Press Secretary
April 13, 1998
The Briefing Room
Q: Joe, The New York Times story about the transfer of technology to
China -- a quick question: Why did the President approve the transfer
of missile technology and improve the reliability of Chinese nuclear
weapons, and how is that in the nation's best interest?
LOCKHART:  That's Eric.
RUBIN: Thanks. Well, first of all, the policy in question has been in
effect since the Reagan administration, and it's a policy that allows
US commercial satellites to be launched from China, and that policy
continued through the Bush administration and into the Clinton
We have very strict safeguards for preventing unauthorized transfer of
technology of this kind, and we believe that those safeguards have
worked. In this case, as in the other cases in question, the President
made his decision based on his assessment of the national interest and
based on the merits of the case.
Q:  How is it in the national interest?  Can you explain that?
RUBIN: Well, what you're look at -- these are licensing questions in
terms of commercial transactions versus potentially sensitive dual-use
transactions. As with any other sensitive technology, this is a case
where we have procedures in place to ensure that our companies can
sell legitimate goods that don't have potential implications for the
national security, and at the same time preventing the unauthorized
transfer of items that might.
Q: To follow up one more time, the suggestion in the New York Times
article is that this is an example of the administration
decriminalizing something for a big contributor.
RUBIN: The President's decisions were made solely on the basis of his
assessment of the national interest and on the merits of the license

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