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China's Weapons - Bought and Sold - Are a Threat

Monday, 11 April 2005 12:00 AM

However, the Chinese purchase does not seem to be aimed at adding an instant force of nuclear tipped missiles. Instead, it would appear the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is more interested in examining the Kh-55 technology. In fact, the PLA does not have the technology to operate the Kh-55.

The Kh-55 is equipped with a combination of an inertial guidance system coupled with a Doppler radar terrain following image guidance package. Thus, a Kh-55 requires high-resolution radar or satellite imagery and specialized pre-targeting guidance input from its launching platforms. China currently does not have the access to the advanced imagery and its bombers and warships do not have the proper targeting systems to provide the specialized guidance data.

Yet, China does currently have its own cruise missile program, the DH-10, in the final stages of testing. The DH-10 reportedly does not have a guidance system similar to the Kh-55. The DH-10 reportedly uses a combination of GPS type guidance and western laser ring gyro technology. It would seem that China's purchase of the Kh-55 may have motivated by "threat" analysis - trying to determine if they might face such a missile in any future conflict with Russia or perhaps India.


Meanwhile, China has suffered a clear step-backward in its efforts to lift the European Union (EU) arms embargo. The embargo was to be lifted before the end of Luxembourg's term at the EU presidency. However, the decision now appears to hit the EU floor in June when the United Kingdom takes over the helm.

Given the political atmosphere between Washington and London, it is unlikely the EU would vote to lift the ban until 2006. Defense analysts inside both capitals noted that the tense situation over the current joint production of the F-35 JSF fighter would simply not allow Britain to be at the EU top spot when any ban is lifted.

There are many reasons why such a ban should remain in place. Interestingly, it is not just conservative - national defense - oriented lobbyists that oppose lifting the EU ban.

For example, the Federation of American Scientists, a liberal group long known for its opposition to nuclear weapons, has come out against lifting the EU ban on arms sales to China.

"Indeed, troubling transfers of Chinese military and dual-use equipment are numerous," Matt Schroeder of the Federation of American Scientists, wrote recently.


"In 1996, an 16-month Federal sting dubbed 'Dragon Fire' culminated in the confiscation of 2,000 fully automatic Chinese AK-47 assault rifles that had been illegally imported into the United States from China. Massive arms shipments interdicted on U.S. soil are usually en route to Latin American guerrillas or drug cartels. Not this time," noted Schroeder.

"According to customs officials, the dealer (a Chinese immigrant reportedly working with two large Chinese defense firms) thought the ultimate recipients were 'gang bangers' in the United States," noted Schroeder.

"The dealer also reportedly offered 60 mm mortars, rocket launchers, and 'Red Parakeet' shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles to undercover agents, who told him that they would be sold to right wing radicals in the U.S. and terrorists in Ireland and Latin America," wrote Schroeder.

"During the investigation, the dealer repeated that the 'Chinese government knew exactly what was going on.' This claim has not been substantiated, but court documents indicate that officials from two large, state-controlled Chinese companies were involved in the deal.

Commenting on role of China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), the Department of Justice stated that '[t]he shipment of weapons from the Dalian plant of NORINCO involved the active participation of that firm's PRC-based vice president, export manager and other officials.'"

Schroeder is not the only one to discover that China wanted to sell weapons to terrorists inside the U.S. According to a 1997 Rand Corp. report, Norinco was heavily involved with the PLA arms firm Poly Technologies and the effort to smuggle fully automatic AK-47 rifles into the U.S.

"Poly's U.S. subsidiaries were abruptly closed in August 1996. Allegedly, Poly's representative, Robert Ma, conspired with China North Industries Corporation's (NORINCO) representative, Richard Chen, and a number of businessmen in California to illegally import 2000 AK-47s into the United States."

"Unfortunately for them," states the Rand report. "Their 'customers' turned out to be undercover U.S. Customs and BATF agents, posing as members of a Miami syndicate. Poly's representative, Robert Ma, fled the country one step ahead of Federal law enforcement officials who had a warrant for his arrest, and his current whereabouts are unknown."

One point worth noting - the U.S. Customs officials were clear that the Chinese officials had to call back to Beijing to get permission to ship the machine guns. The Clinton administration never pursued the Beijing connection.


Norinco is an example of what China will do with any arms or weapons technology it acquires. Norinco is a firm highly favored by Beijing and the PLA generals who own the arms maker. Norinco has also been at the lead of Chinese arms proliferation in global terms.

Norinco came under investigation in 1998 for selling chemical-weapons materials to Iran for weapons of mass destruction, according to testimony before a Senate Governmental sub panel. Norinco has come under fire for other transfers, including the sale of ballistic missile technology to Iran.

In May 2003 the Bush administration slapped a two-year ban on Norinco imports as punishment for engaging in "missile technology proliferation activities." The ban costs NORINCO $100 million a year in lost U.S. sales.

Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance Paula DeSutter described NORINCO as a "serial proliferator" that escapes punishment from Beijing despite the open complaints from Washington.

"For some time, we have been alerting the Chinese Government to our concerns about the activities of Norinco. Nonetheless, the Chinese government has taken no action to halt Norinco's proliferant behavior," Sutter testified in July 2003.


The Bush administration is considering extending the Norinco ban. In fact, it should be considering a ban on all PLA owned businesses in the U.S. Over 3,000 front companies provide conduits for Chinese army intelligence, compete illegally against legitimate U.S. firms for loans and American business - and they serve as fronts for illegal imports such as the AK-47 machine gun deals.

While Washington presses the Europeans to stop dealing with the PLA we too should put up a "closed" sign here in the U.S. Its time to put the PLA out of business.

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RADIO AND TV SCHEDULE Charles Smith will be on: The Jerry Hughes Show on Friday, 4/15/5, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Show information at http://www.cilamerica.com. The George Putnam Show Friday 4/15/5 at 1 p.m. west coast time (4:00 p.m. east coast time) on KSPA, 1510 AM, Ontario, and on the "CRN Radio Network" - web radio link at www.crni.net.


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However, the Chinese purchase does not seem to be aimed at adding an instant force of nuclear tipped missiles. Instead, it would appear the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is more interested in examining the Kh-55 technology. In fact, the PLA does not have the technology to...
Monday, 11 April 2005 12:00 AM
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