- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2000

China is providing assistance to Libya's long-range missile program and made its latest technology transfer to the North African nation last month, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, outlined the transfer in a classified report sent March 2 to senior U.S. government officials.
Disclosure of the NSA report on the missile cooperation follows announcement Tuesday that the United States and China will resume talks on the spread of weapons of mass destruction and missiles to rogue states. The talks were suspended by Beijing following the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last year.
Officials familiar with the NSA report said the missile technology transfer followed other intelligence reports in December that China had agreed to supply Libya with a hypersonic wind tunnel. The wind tunnels will be used for modeling and simulation, key elements of missile development.
Officials discussed some aspects of the China-Libya missile trade on the condition of anonymity.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is expected to be questioned about the China-Libya missile cooperation during an appearance today before the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to congressional aides.
According to the intelligence officials, the missile cooperation began in March 1999 between the state-run China Precision Machinery Import-Export Co. and the Libyan government. The deal involves help in developing Libya's long-range Al-Fatah missile program.
But Chinese technicians have been linked in intelligence reports to the Al-Fatah missile program as early as June 1998, the officials said.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said during a speech Feb. 5 in Germany that Libya is seeking long-range missiles. In calling for national missile defenses, Mr. Cohen said, "Libya has chemical capabilities and is trying to buy long-range missiles."
Rogue states like Libya, Iraq and Iran are not trying to build the missiles for regional conflict, he said.
"They want long-range missiles to coerce and threaten us the North American and European parts of NATO," Mr. Cohen said.
The defense secretary provided no other details.
An administration official said he was unaware of the NSA report but noted that "We've made it clear we think it is important for China to strengthen its controls over missile-related technology." A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment.
Other defense officials said the missiles sought by the Libyans are North Korea's 600-mile-range No Dong missile system, or possibly the longer-range Taepo Dong missile.
The missile buying effort appears to be relatively recent. The CIA's public report on missile threats released in September made no mention of Libya's missile program or its efforts to acquire long-range systems.
Intelligence officials said despite numerous sensitive reports on the program few details are known about Libya's long-range missile program. The Chinese technology and assistance may be for the indigenous Al-Fatah missile, which is believed to be in the late stages of development, but which has not been flight tested. The Al Fatah is expected to have a range of about 600 miles.
The Chinese assistance also may involve training for Libyan military personnel to operate imported North Korea missiles in the future, or the indigenous Al Fatah.
A U.S. spy satellite last year photographed Libyan efforts to enlarge a missile test facility as part of the development program, the officials said.
The same day the NSA reported the missile technology transfer China's official Xinhua news agency announced that Beijing had reached an agreement with the Libya government to build a railroad system as part of "broad railway cooperation."
Some intelligence officials said the rail agreement will provide cover for the secret missile cooperation.
Further evidence of Libya missile development efforts surfaced yesterday. Authorities in Switzerland announced arrest of a Taiwanese businessman who was charged with trying to smuggle Scud missile components to Libya.
And British authorities intercepted a shipment of missile parts in November that were bound for Libya. The parts appeared to be components for Scud-type missiles and may have originated in North Korea, according to U.S. officials.
Swiss police said in 1996 they also intercepted a container from China marked "machine components" that had come from North Korea and were being shipped illegally to Egypt.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has said he plans to develop long-range missiles capable of attacking the United States, according to congressional panel on missile threats headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
According to the Rumsfeld Commission report, Col. Gadhafi said of his adversaries in a 1990 speech: "If they know that you have a deterrent force capable of hitting the United States, they would not be able to hit you. If we had possessed a deterrent missiles that could reach New York we would have hit it at the same moment [as the 1986 U.S. air strike on Libya]. Consequently, we should build this force so that they and others will no longer think about an attack."
Then in late 1995, Col. Gadhafi said "As things stand today, I would attack every place from where aggression against Libya was being planned. I would even be prepared to hit Naples, where there is a NATO base."

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