- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2001

China continued to send "substantial" assistance to Pakistan's missile program during the first half of 2000 and also aided missile programs in Iran, North Korea and Libya, according to a CIA report.

"Chinese missile-related technical assistance to Pakistan continued to be substantial during this reporting period," the CIA said in its semiannual report to Congress on arms proliferation.

The report said that Chinese missile assistance is helping Pakistan move rapidly toward full-scale production of short-range ballistic missiles that are solid-fueled meaning they can be launched on short notice.

"In addition, firms in China provided missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concern such as Iran, North Korea and Libya," the report said.

The Clinton administration last year waived U.S. economic sanctions against China for its missile sales after gaining a promise that Beijing would not sell missiles or components to anyone seeking nuclear-delivery vehicles.

"The Clinton administration refused to sanction China even in the teeth of overwhelming evidence of violations," said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. "The question now is whether the Bush administration will do anything about it."

The report comes after a public dispute between the United States and China over Beijing's development of a fiber-optic communications network connecting Iraq's air-defense network.

The report also said that U.S. intelligence agencies "cannot rule out" intelligence reports that China is continuing to assist Pakistan's nuclear-weapons programs despite a pledge by Beijing in May 1996 to halt support to nuclear facilities in Pakistan operating outside international controls.

The report covering the first six months of 2000 is required by law. In addition to Chinese arms proliferation, the report also states that:

• Russia sold ballistic-missile goods and technology to China, Iran, India and Libya, and its efforts to curb dangerous arms sales to rogue states "remain uncertain."

"Russian entities during the first six months of 2000 have provided substantial missile-related technology, training and expertise to Iran that almost certainly will continue to accelerate Iranian efforts to develop new ballistic missile systems," the report said.

• Moscow also is a major supplier of conventional arms to China, India, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea.

• Iraq is developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by converting Czech L-29 trainers into pilotless jets. The UAV could be used to deliver chemical or biological weapons. Iraq also has rebuilt key elements of its missile production facilities and is rebuilding chemical weapons plants.

• Syria is seeking to purchase nuclear material from Russia that could help Damascus develop nuclear weapons. A joint Russian-Syrian nuclear cooperation program was drawn up in January 2000.

• Libya is expanding its missile program since sanctions were lifted last year and is seeking a medium-range-missile capability. Tripoli also is seeking to acquire material and equipment for biological weapons. Russia and Libya resumed joint nuclear cooperation last year.

Regarding North Korea, another major arms proliferator identified in the report, the CIA said Pyongyang is continuing to buy material for its missile program and also sought to buy technology with nuclear weapons applications.

"During the first half of 2000, Pyongyang sought to procure technology worldwide that could have applications in its nuclear program," the report said. "But we do not know of any procurement directly linked to the nuclear weapons program."

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea was supposed to have halted its nuclear weapons program in exchange for nuclear power reactors considered less useful in nuclear arms applications.

Henry Sokolski, director of the private Non-Proliferation Policy Education Center, said the report shows the need for the new Bush administration to do more to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

"This report only highlights even further why we not only will need to strengthen defenses, including missile defense, but to renew our nonproliferation efforts," Mr. Sokolski said.

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