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14 March 1998


[Congressional Record: March 13, 1998 (Senate)]
[Page S1920-S1922]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I rise today to address a rather
disturbing article that appeared not only in the Washington Times but
also in the Washington Post, a similar article. The headline in the
Times says: ``China in New Nuclear Sales Effort.'' The headline in the
Post: ``U.S. Action Stymied China Sale to Iran.''
  These articles represent a concern of mine, because they detail
China's continuing nuclear proliferation, not just nuclear
proliferation, but proliferation to the nation of Iran.
  According to these articles, U.S. intelligence discovered secret
China-Iran negotiations concerning Chinese transfer of hundreds of tons
of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride is a
material used in enriching uranium to weapons grade uranium.
  This transfer was scheduled to go to Iran's Isfahan Nuclear Research
Center. The Isfahan Center is the principal site of Iran's efforts to
manufacture the explosive core of an atomic device, according to the
  So what we have here, both in the Washington Post and in the
Washington Times, is the chronicling of China's effort to send these
kinds of components and processes to Iran in order for Iran, a rogue
nation, to enhance its capacity to be involved with atomic weapons of
mass destruction.
  This revelation of new Chinese efforts to aid Iran's nuclear weapons
program is deeply troubling, and it follows solemn commitments from
Chinese leaders just last October that China would cut off nuclear
assistance to Iran.
  What is more troubling to me, however, is the fact that the Clinton
administration has overlooked more than a decade of similar promises
that have been broken just as quickly and routinely as last October's
promise has now been revealed to have been broken on the face of the
front pages of this city's newspapers.
  This continued course by this administration to simply take at face
value assurances consistent with other assurances and, unfortunately,
consistent with the disregard for those assurances in terms of policy,
causes us to question whether or not we should have been racing into
these agreements, and particularly according to China the special
standing which we have provided to China based on the events of last
  It is pretty clear to me that, in spite of the fact that China
assured us last October that they were going to be adopting a different
posture in regard to nuclear proliferation, their policy and their
practice was not altered. Their policy and practice of providing this
kind of proliferation to rogue nations remains in place.
  It is, unfortunately, not new that the Chinese have broken
agreements. I will submit for the Record a list of events and times in
which the Chinese have said one thing and done another in regard to
nuclear proliferation--starting in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987,
1989, 1990, 1991, another incident in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997.
  Now, this list, which has been assembled by the Nuclear Control
Institute, merely chronicles the habit, the practice, and the policy of
China in saying one thing and doing another.
  A number of us were stunned last year when the administration said it
wanted to elevate the standing of China as it related to nuclear
technology. We were stunned because we were aware of this list. We were
stunned, thinking that if in the summer of 1997 our own CIA labels
China as the world's worst proliferater of weapons of mass destruction,
why would we

[[Page S1921]]

90 days later want to constitute them as a nuclear cooperator and enter
into a nuclear agreement with them that would entitle them to higher
levels of information, higher degrees of cooperation with the United
  I will submit this list for the Record. I will not belabor the Senate
with all of the documentation here, but I would like the list to be
included in the Record and the documentation be available to the Senate
and to the American people. I ask unanimous consent that it be printed
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:

                  [From the Nuclear Control Institute]

     Date and what China said--                What China did--
1981--``Like many other peace-       In 1981, China supplies South
 loving countries, China does not     Africa (at that time not a member
 advocate or encourage nuclear        of the NPT and pursuing a nuclear
 proliferation, and we are            weapons program) with 60 tons of
 emphatically opposed to any          unsafeguarded enriched uranium.
 production of nuclear weapons by     This enriched uranium may have
 racists and expansionists such as    enabled South Africa to triple
 South Africa and Israel.''--Yu       weapons-grade uranium output at
 Peiwen, head of Chinese delegation   the Valindaba facility.\1\ In
 to Conference on Disarmament in      1981, other unsafeguarded Chinese
 Geneva, Xinhua, 8/4/81.              exports include highly enriched
                                      uranium, uranium hexaflouride, and
                                      heavy water to Argentina, and
                                      heavy water to India. Both nations
                                      are non-NPT states with nuclear
                                      weapons programs at the time.\2\
1983--``China does not encourage or  In 1983, China contracts with
 support nuclear proliferation.''--   Algeria, then a non-NPT state, to
 Vice Premier Li Peng, Xinhua, 10/    construct a large, unsafeguarded
 18/83.                               plutonium-production reactor.
                                      Construction of the reactor
                                      complex began after November 1984--
                                      well after China's April 1984
                                      pledge to subject all future
                                      nuclear exports to IAEA
                                      safeguards, and while China is
                                      negotiating a nuclear cooperation
                                      agreement with the United
                                      States.\3\ China also supplies
                                      Algeria with large hot cells,
                                      which can be used to handle highly
                                      radioactive spent fuel to separate
1984--``We are critical of the       U.S. officials reveal that, in the
 discriminatory treaty on the         early 1980s, China provided
 nonproliferation of nuclear          Pakistan with the design for a
 weapons, but we do not advocate or   nuclear weapon, and probably
 encourage nuclear proliferation.     enough highly enriched uranium
 We do not engage in nuclear          (HEU) for one to two bombs.\5\
 proliferation ourselves, nor do we
 help other countries develop
 nuclear weapons.''--Premier Zhao
 Ziyang, White House state dinner
 on 1/10/84, Xinhua, 1/11/84 (Note:
 A U.S. official later said that
 ``These were solemn assurances
 with in fact the force of law,''
 AP, 6/15/84).
1985-86--``China has no intention,   In addition to covering up its
 either at the present or in the      export of the unsafeguarded
 future, to help non-nuclear          reactor to Algeria, China secretly
 countries develop nuclear            sells Pakistan tritium, an element
 weapons.''--Li Peng, Chinese Vice    used in the trigger of hydrogen
 Premier, Xinhua, January 18, 1985.   bombs as well as to boost the
  ``The Chinese made it clear to us   yield of fission weapons.\6\
   that when they say they will not
   assist other countries to
   develop nuclear weapons, this
   also applies to all nuclear
   explosives . . . We are
   satisfied that the
   [nonproliferation] policies they
   have adopted are consistent with
   our own basic views.''--
   Ambassador Richard Kennedy,
   Department of State,
   Congressional testimony, 10/9/85.
  ``Discussions with China that
   have taken place since the
   initialling of the proposed
   [nuclear] Agreement have
   contributed significantly to a
   shared understanding with China
   on what it means not to assist
   other countries to acquire
   nuclear explosives, and in
   facilitating China's steps to
   put all these new policies into
   place. Thus, ACDA believes that
   the statements of policy by
   senior Chinese officials, as
   clarified by these discussions,
   represent a clear commitment not
   to assist a non-nuclear-weapon
   state in the acquisition of
   nuclear explosives.''--ACDA,
   ``Nuclear Proliferation
   Assessment Statement,''
   submitted to Congress on 7/24/85
   with the U.S./China Agreement
   for Cooperation, 7/19/85.
  ``China is not a party to the
   NPT, but its stance on the
   question is clear-cut and above-
   board . . . it stands for
   nuclear disarmament and
   disapproves of nuclear
   proliferation . . . In recent
   years, the Chinese Government
   has more and more, time and
   again reiterated that China
   neither advocates nor encourages
   nuclear proliferation, and its
   cooperation with other countries
   in the nuclear field is only for
   peaceful purposes''.--Ambassador
   Ho Qian Jiadong, speech given at
   the Conference on Disarmament in
   Geneva, 6/27/85 (quoted by Amb.
   Richard Kennedy in congressional
   testimony, 7/31/85).
1987-89--``China does not advocate   In 1989, China agrees to build a
 or encourage nuclear                 light-water reactor for Pakistan,
 proliferation, nor does it help      begins assisting Iran's
 other countries develop nuclear      development of indigenous
 weapons.''--Vice Foreign Minister    manufacturing capability for
 Qian Qichen, Beijing Review, 3/30/   medium-range ballistic missiles,
 87.                                  and assists Iraq in the
  ``As everyone knows, China does     manufacture of samarium-cobalt
   not advocate nor encourage         ring magnets for uranium-
   nuclear proliferation. China       enrichment centrifuges.\7\
   does not engage in developing or
   assisting other countries to
   develop nuclear weapons.''--
   Foreign Ministry spokesman,
   Beijing radio, 5/4/89.
1990--``. . . the Chinese            In September 1990, after Iraq's
 government has consistently          invasion of Kuwait and the
 supported and participated in the    imposition of an international
 international community's efforts    trade embargo, China provides Iraq
 for preventing the proliferation     with lithium hydride, a chemical
 of nuclear weapons.''--Ambassador    compound useful in both boosted-
 Hou Zhitong, Xinhua, 4/1/91.         fission and thermonuclear
                                      (hydrogen) bombs, as well as in
                                      ballistic missile fuel.\8\
1991--``The report claiming that     Sometime around 1991, China
 China provides medium-range          provides ballistic missile
 missiles for Pakistan is             technology to Syria, including the
 absolutely groundless. China does    nuclear-capable M-9 missile. In
 not stand for, encourage, or         1993, a Chinese corporation
 engage itself in nuclear             exports ammonium perchlorate, a
 proliferation and does not aid       missile fuel precursor, to the
 other countries in developing        Iraqi government via a Jordanian
 nuclear weapons.''--Foreign          purchasing agent.\9\ In August
 ministry spokesman Wu Janmin,        1993, the United States imposes
 Zhongguo Ximwen She, 4/25/91.        sanctions on China for exporting
                                      nuclear-capable M-11 ballistic
                                      missiles to Pakistan.
1991--``China has struck no nuclear  In 1991, China supplies Iran with a
 deals with Iran . . . This           research reactor capable of
 inference is preposterous.''         producing plutonium \10\ and a
 Chinese embassy official Chen        calutron, a technology that can be
 Guoqing, rebutting a claim that      used to enrich uranium to weapons-
 China had sold nuclear technology    grade.\11\ (Calutrons enriched the
 to Iran, letter to Washington        uranium in the ``Little Boy'' bomb
 Post, 7/2/91.                        that destroyed Hiroshima, and were
                                      at the center of Saddam Hussein's
                                      effort to develop an Iraqi nuclear
1994--``China does not engage in     China supplies a complete nuclear
 proliferation of weapons of mass     fusion research reactor facility
 destruction . . .''--Foreign         to Iran, and provides technical
 Minister Qian Qichen, AP newswire,   assistance in making it
 10/4/94.                             operational.\12\ China, with
                                      apparent U.S. acquiescence, agrees
                                      to replace France as supplier of
                                      low-enriched uranium fuel for
                                      India's U.S.-supplied Tarapur
                                      reactors. The U.S. cut off supply
                                      of LEU soon after India's nuclear
                                      explosion of 1974. This LEU supply
                                      makes it easier for India to
                                      concentrate other nuclear assets
                                      on its weapons program.\13\
1995--``China has never transferred  In 1995, China exports 5,000 ring
 or sold any nuclear technology or    magnets to Pakistan. Such magnets
 equipment to Pakistan . . . We       are integral components of high-
 therefore hope the U.S. Government   speed gas centrifuges of the type
 will not base its policy-making on   used by Pakistan to enrich uranium
 hearsay.''--Foreign Ministry         to weapons-grade.\14\
 Deputy Secretary Shen Guofang,
 Hong Kong, AFP, 3/26/96 (after
 discovery of the ring magnet sale
 to Pakistan).
1996--``. . . We have absolutely     In July 1997, a CIA report
 binding assurances from the          concludes that, in the second half
 Chinese, which we consider a         of 1996, ``China was the single
 commitment on their part not to      most important supplier of
 export ring magnets or any other     equipment and technology for
 technologies to unsafeguarded        weapons of mass destruction''
 facilities . . . The negotiating     worldwide.\15\ The report also
 record is made up primarily of       states that, for the period July
 conversations, which were detailed   to December 1996--i.e. after
 and recorded, between U.S. and       China's May 11, 1996 pledge to the
 Chinese officials.''--Under          United States not to provide
 Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff,    assistance to unsafeguarded
 congressional testimony, 5/16/96.    nuclear facilities--China was
  ``China's position on nuclear       Pakistan's ``primary source of
   proliferation is very clear . .    nuclear-related equipment and
   . It does not advocate,            technology . . .'' \16\
   encourage, or engage in nuclear
   proliferation, nor does it
   assist other countries in
   developing nuclear weapons. It
   always undertakes its
   international legal obligations
   of preventing nuclear
   proliferation . . . China has
   always been cautious and
   responsible in handling its
   nuclear exports and exports of
   materials and facilities that
   might lead to nuclear
   proliferation.''--Statement by
   Foreign Ministry spokesman Cui
   Tiankai, Beijing, Xinhua, 9/15/
1997--``The question of assurance    According to a CIA report, China is
 does not exist. China and Iran       ``a key supplier'' of nuclear
 currently do not have any nuclear    technology to Iran, exporting over
 cooperation . . . We do not sell     $60 million worth annually.
 nuclear weapons to any country or    Fourteen Chinese nuclear experts
 transfer related technology. This    are reportedly working at Iranian
 is our long-standing position,       nuclear facilities.\17\
 this policy is targeted at all
 countries.'' Foreign Ministry
 spokesman Shen Guofang, Los
 Angeles, 11/2/97, Reuters, 11/3/97.
  ``I wish to emphasize once again
   China has never transferred
   nuclear weapons or relevant
   technology to other countries,
   including Iran . . . China has
   never done it in the past, we do
   not do it now, nor will we do it
   in the future.''--Foreign
   Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang,
   Kyodo, 10/21/97.

                                END NOTES

* China's non-proliferation statements are documented in Rep. Benjamin
  Gilman, ``China's Nuclear Nonproliferation Promises: 1981-1997,''
  Congressional Record, November 5, 1997, p. H10073. China's
  proliferation deeds are documented in Steven Dolley, ``China's Record
  of Proliferation Misbehavior,'' Nuclear Control Institute, September
  29, 1997.
\1\ Leonard Spector, Nuclear Ambitions, 1990, p. 274; Michael Brenner,
  ``People's Republic of China,'' in International Nuclear Trade and
  Nonproliferation, Ed. William Potter, 1990, p. 253.
\2\ Judith Miller, ``U.S. is Holding Up Peking Atom Talks,'' New York
  Times, September 19, 1982; Brenner, ibid,; Gary Milhollin and Gerard
  White, ``A New China Syndrome: Beijing's Atomic Bazaar,'' Washington
  Post, May 12, 1991, p. C4.
\3\ Vipin Gupta, ``Algeria's Nuclear Ambitions,'' International Defense
  Review, #4, 1992, pp. 329-330.
\4\ Mark Hibbs, ``Move to Block China Certification Doesn't Concern
  Administration,'' Nucleonics Week, August 7, 1997, p. 11.
\5\ Leslie Gelb, ``Pakistan Link Perils U.S.-China Nuclear Pact,'' New
  York Times, June 22, 1984, p. A1; Leonard Spector et al., Tracking
  Nuclear Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
  1995, p. 49.
\6\ Milhollin and White, ``A New China Syndrome,'' op cit., p. C4.
\7\ ``Iraq and the Bomb,'' MidEast Markets, December 11, 1989, p. 130.
\8\ Tim Kelsey, ``Chinese Arms Dealers Flaunt U.N. Embargo--China Ships
  Vital Nuclear Cargo to Iraq,'' London Sunday Independent, September
  30, 1990, reprinted in Congressional Record, October 18, 1990, p.
\9\ Export Control News, December 30, 1994, p. 14.
\10\ Kenneth Timmerman, ``Tehran's A-Bomb Program Shows Startling
  Progress,'' Washington Times, May 8, 1995. According to Timmerman,
  China and Iran did not report the 1991 purchase of this reactor to the
\11\ Marie Colvin, ``Secret Iranian Plans for a Nuclear Bomb,'' Sunday
  Times (London), July 28, 1991; Russell Watson, ``Merchants of Death,''
  Newsweek, November 18, 1991, p. 38.
\12\ Gary Milhollin, Wisconsin Project, Testimony before the Senate
  Select Committee on Intelligence, September 18, 1997, p. 8.
\13\ Mark Hibbs, ``Reported VVER-1000 Sale to India Raises NSG Concern
  on Safeguards,'' Nucleonics Week, January 12, 1995, p. 1.
\14\ Tim Weiner, ``Atom Arms Parts Sold to Pakistan by China, U.S.
  Says,'' New York Times, February 8, 1996, p. A1.
\15\ U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Nonproliferation Center, ``The
  Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and
  Advanced Conventional Munitions,'' 1997, p. 5. See also Mark Hibbs,
  ``DOD, ACDA Want China Accord Link to Other Weapons Export Limits,''
  Nucleonics Week, August 21, 1997, p. 2; Tim Weiner, ``China is Top
  Supplier to Nations Seeking Powerful, Banned Arms,'' New York Times,
  July 3, 1997, p. A10.
\16\ CIA report, ``The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of
  Mass Destruction,'' op cit., p. 5.
\17\ CIA report, ibid.; Con Coughlin, ``U.S. Sounds Alarm Over Iran
  Nuclear Threat,'' Sunday Telegraph (London), February 23, 1997, p. 24.

[[Page S1922]]

  Mr. ASHCROFT. Now, this most recent set of incidents, of course,
revealed in the Washington Times today, and in the Washington Post as
well, and I am sure in other newspapers across the country, was the
subject of a special briefing to Members of the U.S. Senate very
recently. I was not a part of that briefing and I do not know what was
said at the special briefing, but the information that I am including
is information from these news sources. I want to make it clear that I
would not be breaching any special information provided to the Senate.
I was not a party to it. But the information is well known.
  What is perhaps in some measure troubling is that the administration
sought to portray this episode with China as a success. They say,
``Look what we stopped. Look what we were able to do.'' They say that
China responded more swiftly to our complaints this time, that when we
caught them red-handed in the process of breaking their word, they were
more ready to admit they were breaking their word. To hear
administration officials talk, the swiftness of China's response to the
exposure of their proliferation activity is grounds for disregarding
that the administration was hoodwinked by the Chinese all along.
  Well, the inventory since 1981 is sort of the litany, if you will, of
the insistent and nagging record of proliferation violation after
proliferation violation after proliferation violation upon
proliferation violation. These things provided a basis for saying to
the administration, we should not trust the Chinese, at least without
some record, without some record that proliferation will stop, and yet
within days after our CIA labeled the Chinese as the world's worst
proliferaters, we in this administration seemed ready to believe their
next assurance. And, of course, these newspapers indicate that our
belief should have been in their practice and policy of the past, which
has been a policy of betrayal and a policy of disregard, not a policy
of compliance with agreements relating to nonproliferation of nuclear
  Who knows what other nuclear assistance projects China has in store
with Iran or other rogue regimes. Who knows how many such projects we
have not detected, have not called their hand on, have not asked them
to stop because we did not know about them. We happen to intercept
information here.
  Given China's past proliferation record, and given that the 1997 CIA
report that called China--and I quote--``the most significant supplier
of weapons of mass destruction-related goods and technology to foreign
countries''--that was a quote; the CIA labeled them that less than a
year ago--it is pretty clear that people of good sense would say, maybe
we ought to ask that they be compliant, maybe we ought to ask that they
observe their agreements for at least a short interval before we endow
them with our full trust and confidence.
  I opposed President Clinton's decision to begin nuclear cooperation
with China based on the CIA report, based on this heritage of denying
and breaking these agreements. And now the newspapers of this morning,
from both the right and the left, if you will, have said that China was
in the process of breaking these agreements currently after China has
given its word.
  In order for United States-China nuclear cooperation to proceed, the
President certified to Congress that China--and this is what he
certified--``is not assisting and will not assist any nonnuclear-weapon
state, either directly or indirectly, in acquiring nuclear explosive
devices or the material and components for such devices.''
  The President's haste to make this certification seriously undermined
U.S. counterproliferation credibility, credibility that would be
desperately needed just a few weeks later in a confrontation with
Saddam Hussein over the same issue of the threat of weapons of mass
destruction--not a unique issue.
  Mr. President, the startling inconsistencies in this administration's
policy regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
these inconsistencies are putting the national security of our country
at risk. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks about NATO's new
central mission as combating the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. The United States almost went to war last month in the
Persian Gulf over the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
  We still face the prospect of having to use military force to address
the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. And
yet, in spite of all this, the administration's rhetoric on
counterproliferation--in spite of the continuing object lesson of
Saddam Hussein and the threat posed by his terrorist government--the
Clinton administration has entered into a nuclear cooperation agreement
with China, the world's worst proliferater of weapons of mass
destruction. And we know, as of this week, that China is repudiating
the basis of those agreements.
  Just as Saddam Hussein has outmaneuvered this administration to keep
his weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, China has outmaneuvered this
administration to continue to proliferate weapons of mass destruction
to Iran. Not only is Beijing continuing to pursue nuclear assistance to
Iran, but, according to the CIA, China is a major supplier to Iran of
chemical weapons and missiles technology as well.
  I call on the President to put a halt to nuclear cooperation with
China. The President, in my opinion, has pursued a policy of blind
engagement with the Chinese. It is a policy which disregards the facts,
the litany of breaches on the part of the Chinese. It disregards the
facts of continuing breaches of their agreements by the Chinese who
continue to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. In light of the
reports on China's continuation of proliferation activity, the proposed
United States-China summit meeting in June should be reconsidered.
  Mr. President, the decision to begin nuclear cooperation with China
was a political one. It was driven by the administration's desire to
have a ``meaningful'' meeting, an event strategy. Well, ``meaningful''
events cannot replace substantive foreign policy. We cannot say in one
part of the world to Saddam Hussein, ``Well, we'll go to war with you
over weapons of mass destruction,'' while we are winking at someone
else, saying, ``Well, it's OK if you continue to break your word and
proliferate weapons of mass destruction'' to equally dangerous rogue
regimes. It undermines America's credibility in combating the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is not worth the
photo-op that we get from the Chinese by having a summit if we have to
destroy our policy and threaten the security of this globe to do it.
  I believe that it is time for us to have a policy, a policy that is
unmistakable and clear and a policy that is respected, that weapons of
mass destruction are not to be tolerated and that the United States
will not extend privileges of nuclear cooperation to those who would
take nuclear resources and make them available to rogue nations as
weapons of mass destruction.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's 10 minutes has expired.
  Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I yield the floor and thank the Chair.
  Mr. GLENN addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.