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Inside the Ring: China breaks sanctions

The U.N. committee in charge of monitoring arms sanctions on North Korea concludes in a report that China provided six off-road vehicles that were converted into long-range missile launchers by Pyongyang's military.

The Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers were first displayed at a military parade in Pyongyang last year as part of North Korea's newest long-range strategic nuclear missile, the road-mobile KN-08 missile.

"On the basis of the information currently available, the panel considers it most likely that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea deliberately breached the end-user guarantee that it officially provided to [China's] Wuhan and converted the WS51200 trucks into transporter-erector launchers," says the annual report of a U.N. panel of analysts, dated June 11.

According to the report, Chinese officials told the United Nations that the six transporter-erector launchers were sold as "lumber transporters" and were manufactured by China's Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Co., and that they could not be used for transporting missiles.

Other analysts say the disguised launcher transfers are typical of Chinese covert arms proliferation efforts.

A U.N. analysis of the launchers reveals that the launchers' "fronts and sides, the fenders, the exhaust systems, fuel tanks and tires of the vehicles seen on parade exactly matched those of the WS51200 series advertised by Wanshan."

An end-user document in the U.N. report purports to show that North Korea's Forestry Ministry bought the six trucks through the Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Corp. in November 2010.

Other documents in the report from China show that the vehicles are described as WS51200 nonhighway trucks "with the longest body and largest payload mass of all such vehicles in China."

"It was independently developed by the Ninth Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. and its recent successful delivery to the client has filled a gap in this sector in China," the report states.

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. is the Chinese military's main mobile-missile producer.

The document, without naming North Korea, says the vehicle was "developed by the Wanshan Company of the Ninth Academy in accordance with the client's needs, using the WS series heavy-duty chassis technology."

Discovery of the North Korean KN-08 prompted the Pentagon to conduct a recent study that concluded the long-range missile threat to the United States has increase sharply. The Pentagon announced earlier this year that it is adding 14 new anti-missile interceptors to its missile defense system.

Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military who was one of the first analysts to confirm that the North Korean missile launchers are Chinese-made, said the U.N. report is "a defeat for the United Nations and a failure of American diplomacy because China escapes an appropriate accusation of violating U.N. sanctions against selling missile technology to North Korea."

Mr. Fisher said China has been promoting the "falsehood" that the trucks were sold for use in hauling lumber.

"The Sanjiang Group of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. designed the 16-wheel truck that was sold to North Korea for the specific purpose of transporting, erecting and launching large missiles," Mr. Fisher said. "That a North Korean nuclear missile that can reach Anchorage, Alaska, is being carried by a Chinese made TEL is not the result of some 'violation' of a contract, but of a deliberate Chinese policy to help North Korea become a nuclear missile state."

A State Department spokesman had no immediate comment.

RUSSIAN SUPERWEAPON?

Moscow's response to President Obama's call for a new one-third reduction in deployed strategic nuclear warheads was met with a chilly response, according to recent statements by Russian officials.

Additionally, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, the key arms control official, announced Sunday that Russia is developing a new strategic "superweapon" to deal with its U.S. adversary.

"Today, we are experiencing a revolution in military science," Mr. Rogozin told Russian television. "This revolution is connected with the rapid development of highly accurate means of destruction. These are cruise missiles and high-speed rocket weapons. In the future, there will be hypersonic weapons."

According to the Russian official, military reaction times are much shorter than in the past, and the United States "adversary" has shown its capabilities against foreign militaries with precision strike weapons.

"Russia is analyzing the situation," he said. "We are creating a weapon that could be called a superweapon. This is a weapon that will allow us to see the enemy sooner than he will see us and to inflict a blow on him, in retaliatory measures, that will be irreversible for him." He did not elaborate.

Moscow's new high-technology arms program includes "fundamentally, new type" weapons, Mr. Rogozin said. "We are moving to robotics we are moving to principles of fighting when one serviceman can fight for five people by using robotics and automated hardware."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 20 also disclosed that Russia, following the Chinese military, is building state-of-the-art space weapons that would "guarantee [for] Russia the fulfillment of space defense tasks for the period until 2020."

"It includes systems of missile and air attack warning, means of target detection and destruction," Mr. Putin said. "Creating such a system needs detailed designing, effective construction and a careful analysis of threats and development plans for means of attack. And, of course, efficient coordination with other arms and services of the armed forces."

By contrast, the Pentagon's new guidance on nuclear weapons issued last week appears to ignore the growing Russian strategic nuclear threat. The guidance states that although Russia is modernizing its nuclear forces, "Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries."

NSA CHIEF ON CHINA

Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, recently stepped up his public appearances in response to the defection of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

And one new aspect of Gen. Alexander's public remarks is that for the first time he has named China as one of the most aggressive threats to U.S. secrets and other information through cyber attacks.

"I think our nation has been significantly impacted with intellectual property, the theft of intellectual property by China and others," Gen. Alexander said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "That is the most significant transfer of wealth in history. And it goes right back to your initial question: Who is taking our information? It's one of the things I believe the American people would expect me to know. That's where my mission is. Who's doing this to us and why?"

Testifying June 18 before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the four-star general was asked how he would describe Chinese cyberespionage and cybermilitary capabilities aimed at conducting disruptive attacks against the United States.

"Very carefully," he said, noting extensive public reports of Chinese cyberattacks.

Recent discussions between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Chinese cyberattacks is a good beginning, he said.

"I think we've got to solve this issue with China and then look at ways to move forward," Gen. Alexander said.

Among the issues to be resolved are what are the right standards for cyber activities, he said.

Gen. Alexander provided one-word answers about Chinese cyberattacks under questioning by Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and committee chairman:

"Would you say that China engages in cybereconomic espionage against intellectual property, to steal intellectual property in the United States?"

"Yes," Gen. Alexander said.

"Would you argue that they engage in cyberactivities to steal both military and intelligence secrets of the United States?"

"Yes."

It was the first time the director, who is also commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, directly accused China of engaging in cyber espionage and cyber attacks. Earlier, Gen. Alexander had been reluctant to identify China as the major cyber threat.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. ...

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