CSIA Foundation

Analyst's note:  This report shows that leaks of State Department documents reveal Peking with explicit complicity in arming Iran with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons technology, frustrating America - big time… And this is the country to whom we sell our debt, etc., etc., etc.?

Americans are frustrated with China. Big time. The most recent leaks of State Department documents reveal Peking with explicit complicity in arming Iran with ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons technology. A more recent article also appeared in the Washington Post calling attention to the major advancements China has made in ballistic missile technology, including rockets capable of attacking American aircraft carriers at distances up to and beyond 1000 kilometers. 

Americans rightfully are asking "Weren’t the Chinese going to help us with sanctions against Iran? Didn't they vote for the UN sanctions? Does such a report run counter to the conventional narrative that despite some small lapses, the PRC is really helping the US counter such proliferation? Do they not buy our Treasury bills? 

Well, Americans are right to have doubts. Chinese "cooperation" is a pile of largely false promises. It reminds one of the priest who enters the monastery and prays to God to “let me be chaste, but not yet!”  

What do the facts show? Let’s review just the past few years the highlights of Peking’s actions.  

Chinese airports are used to trans-ship North Korean armaments to Iran. For some reason, the excuse we hear is that China is unaware of such activity and is just "not looking" in the right direction. On November 30, the Wall Street Journal had a hysterical news story on how China's inspectors were just not doing an adequate interdiction job. The headline was China was looking "in the wrong direction". What, they could not figure out which of the planes at their airports were North Korean?  

They even had folks at the Arms Control Association fooled. China says ACA, is only guilty of "benign neglect", don't you see? Nothing to worry about here. Apparently, it did not occur to them that China is helping ship missiles to Iran from North Korea deliberately. 

When it was revealed such rockets from North Korea have a range around 3500-4000 kilometers, we were initially told not to worry. Yes, these new missiles could indeed allow Iran for the first time to reach Western Europe. But not to worry, the Iranians do not have the technology to build small nuclear weapons of the size that could be mated with such rockets. Oh, I really am feeling better already! What good news. 

But then just a few days later, Global Security Newswire reported North Korea was working on making smaller nuclear weapons capable of being mated to their current rocket inventory which of course includes the BM-25. And their current rocket inventory is being shipped to Iran. Oops!

Of course, as James Bond’s girl friend in “You Only Live Twice” reminded him about a ‘make believe’ Japanese wife with which he was being matched, “It’s just business”. The most widely used explanation for such Chinese actions.  

Unfortunately, there is a pattern that cannot be ignored that goes beyond just a few errant business deals. The Chinese regime believes it has a right to rule the world. It reacts menacingly to perceived slights and blacklists those it deems not sufficiently supportive. It hides its intentions.  

Some analysts see their enhanced military capabilities as nothing more than part of their ocean port projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia and Timor. But these projects are the first installment of future Chinese hegemonic actions, a “string of pearls” throughout the Pacific that look markedly like the “Co-Prosperity Sphere” of Imperial Japan. 

China has a thirst for petroleum and natural gas that is second to none in the world. It is securing not just access to such resources but a guaranteed supply. Their military will follow the port projects and that will be the key signature on all energy deals they are now making—whether off the coast of Brazil or Cuba. The oil is theirs, period.  

Proliferation of the most dangerous kinds of weapons and the missiles to deliver them are part of this strategy. Arm America’s adversaries and give China a free hand as much as possible.  

And then add to that the following “top 25 Chinese hegemonic hits”:

  1. Undervalue one’s currency to distort trade and investment;

  2. Fund Chavez of Venezuela to the tune of $20 billion which contributes to his terrorist ways

  3. Invest in Iran's oil and gas sector, contrary to the requirements of the UN sanctions on Iran;

  4. Delay UN publication of evidence of North Korean violations of the UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang;

  5. Continue major economic assistance to the North Korean government, which indirectly contributes to its nuclear weapons and missile programs;

  6. Deliberately Ram a Japanese fishing trawler;

  7. Claim vast areas of the South China Sea as its own territory in order to seize control over major oil resources, contrary to requirements of international law;

  8. Use Burma as a conduit for military technologies to North Korea (UPI Asia Online, September 4, 2007);

  9. Attempt through a state-owned enterprise to become a minority owner in 3Com and Bain Capital Partners, (3Com's computer security systems are used by the Pentagon);

  10. Ship Chinese shoulder fired HN-5 antiaircraft missiles to Taliban units; supply Hezbollah through the IRGC in Iran Chinese made C-802 anti-ship missiles even as some describe this as “unofficial trade”;

  11. Engage in illicit nuclear arms transfers to Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and Libya, (according to testimony before the US China Economic and Security Review Commission);

  12. Support the bogus nuclear fuel swap proposed by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, (FT, May 2010), saying such a deal now eliminates the need for more sanctions;

  13. Announce "no direct restrictions" on investing in Iran's energy sector (WSJ, May 20, 2010;

  14. Deploy and develop five new intercontinental nuclear armed ballistic missiles...(according to the American Thinker, April 2, 2010);

  15. Continue to sell refined gasoline to Iran (Reuters, April 14, 2010);

  16. Continue flouting “European and US intellectual property rights..”(Sol Sanders, "Follow The Money", Washington Times);

  17. Capture a Vietnamese fishing boat and its 12-man crew, as part of a bullying policy to assert control over oil resources below the South China Sea;

  18. Establish a cyber espionage network to compromise communications in embassies in the US, UK, Germany, the UAE and Canada;

  19. Announce a 72% export reduction in rare earth metals for the second half of 2010, sending tremors through America's industrial complex"...(Gal Luft and Yaron Voronoa, IAGS, 2010 Washington Times);

  20. Establish a PLA presence in Kashmir bordering Xinjiang province...;

  21. Continue to establish financial stakes in Iran’s energy sector through such firms as CNPC, the China National Petroleum Company, and the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, (Sinopec);

  22. Sell unsafe products, violate patents and copyrights, while denying justice to foreign entities in China's corrupt courts;

  23. Expand the “size of [your] nuclear arsenal" (2008 released report from the Department of Defense on October 10, 2008);

  24. "Develop a capacity for electromagnetic pulse warfare..." (Missile Defense Briefing Report, AFPC, October 13, 2008); and

  25. Manufacture missiles in China, send them through Iran, and arm groups in Iraq and Afghanistan killing American and coalition soldiers, (Rear Admiral Mark Fox). 


The military implications of all this is serious. As Larry Wortzel, (October 17, 2007) in an AEI commentary noted, the Commander of the US Space and Missile Defense Command has warned that China’s missile production will soon challenge the US at a “near-peer level”.  

Noted historian and military analyst Mark Helprin says that “China is on the cusp of being able to use conventional satellites, swarms of miniature satellites, and networked surface, undersea and aerial cuing for real-time terminal guidance with which to direct its 1500 short range ballistic missiles to the five or six aircraft carriers the United States, after ceding control of the Panama canal and reducing its carrier fleet by one-third, could dispatch."  

Critics of this analysis will no doubt point to Chinese protestations of being in favor of arms control and non-proliferation. But as noted top Chinese expert Mike Pillsbury said last year at a Hill breakfast seminar, "The Chinese are always for arms control deals--a fissile material cutoff, a ban on weapons in space, and going to zero nuclear weapons. But they refuse to have any verification. Its trust and don't verify".  

Chinese military power is growing. It is getting more capable. It is aimed, in part, at securing hegemonic control over a vast empire of oil and gas energy resources with which to fuel their economy. And treating its neighbors and the Pacific region as a “Chinese pond” from which US and allied power is eliminated and Chinese supremacy secured. Peking’s military power is to back up and support China’s rough diplomacy. Behind the pleasant handshakes lies an iron fist. 

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