UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

July 15, 1998





Sen. Shelby said, "The Committee meets today in the sixth of a series of hearings devoted to our investigation into the national security implications of advanced satellite technology exports to China and covert Chinese efforts to influence U. S. policy.
While most of our hearings have been held in closed session to protect sensitive intelligence sources and methods, and protect information pertaining to two on-going criminal investigations, I am pleased that we are able to hold a public hearing today to consider a subject of great significance to our investigation. We will examine how effectively the U. S. government monitors the interaction between U. S. and Chinese aerospace companies before, during, and after a U. S. satellite is launched aboard a Chinese rocket, and how the U. S. tracks and safeguards sensitive U. S. technology in the process.
The President has said that the waiver process is a routine matter, but I disagree. Others have said that launching U. S. satellites on Chinese rockets is no more serious than sending a package through Federal Express. Again, I disagree. The President's National Security Advisor, Samuel R. Berger, said in early June that "the satellites exported to China for launch are not used for military purposes, nor do they result in the transfer of missile technology." Clearly, this has not been the case.
I cannot be comfortable with the process of launching U. S. satellites in China until we have adequate controls in place to prevent the Chinese military from benefitting - which brings us to the subject of today's hearing.
We have with us, Mr. David Tarbell, the Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration or DTSA, who will take us through the history and implementation of the monitoring and safeguards process. Mr. Tarbell, I would like to thank you for joining us today, and also for spending a great deal of time with the staff of this Committee in preparation for this hearing.
Given what I have been told by staff, I have a number of concerns that I hope you will address today, Mr. Tarbell. I am concerned that the process you will describe is ad hoc and has not been adequate to prevent technology transfers to China, as we have discovered in the case of Loral and Hughes. I am concerned that you do not have the resources to carry out your monitoring mission, that you are forced to take funds "out of hide" and are dependent on volunteer monitors. I am concerned that with the transfer of authority over this process to the Commerce Department, priority is given to commercial concerns and the fiscal "bottom line", rather than national security interests. And, I am concerned that with the transfer of authority came confusion which led to at least three Chinese launches of Hughes-built satellites that were not monitored at all.
Some may question the significance of all of these issues, and the importance of our investigation. I say to these critics that nothing is more important than the long term security of our Nation. China - one of the last bastions of dictatorial communism - certainly poses long term challenges to our national security. I can think of four examples:
First, American cities are within range of the Chinese military's nuclear arsenal and within minutes of being targeted, even though President Clinton recently secured a purely symbolic gesture from President Jiang Zemin in the agreement to de-target Chinese nuclear missiles. Improving the reliability and accuracy of these missiles is not in our national security interests.
Second, the U. S. military may one day face a very serious confrontation with China in East Asia, much more serious than what occurred in the Taiwan Strait just a few years ago. Giving the Chinese technical information that improves their manufacturing process of guidance systems used on a wide range of missiles, including ballistic and cruise missiles, that can be targeted on Taiwan, Japan, or U. S. forces in the region is not in our national security interests.
Third, while the U. S. military may not be forced to directly confront the Chinese military in the near future, it may well face adversaries such as Iran or North Korea, which have benefitted from China's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology. Helping to grow a Chinese industry of reliable, low cost launch services that can be used to train other countries in the business of cheap missile systems is not in our national security interests.
And finally, let us not forget that Chinese military leaders themselves have recently said that the real way to destroy the U. S. is not with nuclear war, but with information war. One of the armaments on the information battlefield is a communications satellite. Allowing the Chinese to have access to our advanced communications systems, without the necessary safeguards to prevent them from being used by the Chinese military to launch an information attack, is not in our national security interests.
The recent summit in Beijing produced great ceremony, with much talk of partnership, but little talk of substance. Until the Chinese take concrete actions to institute democratic freedoms, adhere to the principles of basic human rights, and end their practice of proliferating weapons of mass destruction and missile technology, we should do nothing that helps improve the Chinese military, or the rogue regimes that benefit from Chinese proliferation. If we do, I believe it represents harm to our national security. This is why our continuing investigation is so important.
One final thought - the process of technology export is all about balancing threats to our national security against benefits to our commercial industry. We have seen a number of documents that record the benefits to our commercial industry and the great pressures that industry has brought to bear to ease export controls. We have not seen many documents that record the debate associated with threats to our national security.
The Committee has asked for such documents, but the deadline that we set for receipt of these documents has come and gone. I hope that this is not an indication that the Administration did not have such a debate. If it is not, then I would think that the Administration would make such documents available immediately so that we can factor them into our investigation.
Mr. Tarbell, welcome to the Committee, and I look forward to your testimony."


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list