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archive: U.S. says Pakistan has full Chinese missile system

U.S. says Pakistan has full Chinese missile system

Posted by Ashok Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
San Jose Mercury
September 13, 1999.

    Title: U.S. says Pakistan has full Chinese missile system
    Publication: San Jose Mercury
    Date: September 13, 1999.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new U.S. intelligence report states publicly
    for the first time that Pakistan has received M-11 short-range
    ballistic missiles from China, raising once again the question of
    whether U.S. law warrants imposing tougher sanctions against Beijing,
    administration and congressional sources said Monday.
    The unqualified conclusion, contained on page five of the declassified
    intelligence report on missiles issued Thursday, states: "Pakistan has
    Chinese- supplied M-11 short-range ballistic missiles."
    The statement, which reflects the consensus of the U.S. intelligence
    community, revives a long-simmering dispute between the intelligence
    community and the policymakers.
    The State Department and the White House have long taken issue with
    such assessments, arguing that while Pakistan has acquired components
    of M-11 missiles, the evidence does not prove Islambad actually
    possesses complete systems.
    The issue of whether Pakistan possesses only missile components or
    whether it has full systems is significant because China could be
    subjected under U.S. law to more serious sanctions for such a transfer
    than have been imposed in the past.
    But imposing sanctions now could cause new problems in U.S. efforts to
    work cooperatively with Beijing on many issues and, administration
    officials said, they are unlikely to happen.
    "That's the first time that I'm aware of in an unclassified forum that
    there has been that specific a statement" on China transferring
    complete M-11 systems to Pakistan, one administration official said
    about the new intelligence report.
    "This is obviously a more significant statement than what has been
    said before publicly" about the extent to which Pakistan possesses
    M-11 capability, he told Reuters.
    A congressional source agreed, saying: "That's the first time in an
    unclassified document that the administration has admitted
    categorically that Pakistan has Chinese-supplied missiles."
    "Now the question is, when is the administration going to impose
    sanctions?" he added.
    In fact, the National Air Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air
    Force Base in Ohio hinted at the intelligence community's finding in
    an April 1999 report on ballistic and cruise missile threats.
    It included Pakistan in a chart on short-range ballistic missile
    systems, indicating that Islamabad had fewer than 50 M-11 launchers.
    But that was a rather obscure reference and escaped wide notice, even
    among administration experts.
    Nevertheless, the fact that Pakistan has complete Chinese M-11 systems
    is one of "the worst kept secrets.... It has been common knowledge" in
    the intelligence community and the government for years, one
    intelligence source said.
    A State Department official insisted that the finding contained in the
    latest national intelligence estimate on missiles -- which includes
    input from the department's own intelligence bureau -- is not based on
    any new information.
    As a result, it does not change the view of policymakers that there is
    not sufficient proof that Pakistan has complete missiles, he told
    "In terms of a determination, we have not reached a legal conclusion
    that Pakistan has received full M-11 missiles," the official said.
    He noted that the United States has a responsibility to impose "very
    high evidentiary standards" before imposing sanctions, especially when
    a government like China has denied providing Islamabad with complete
    missile systems.
    In two instances -- once by President George Bush's administration in
    1991 and again by President Clinton in 1993 -- the United States
    imposed mild sanctions on China for transferring M-11 components to
    But the sanctions were lifted in both cases when Beijing agreed to,
    but did not formally sign, the global Missile Technology Control
    Regime, which aims to ban the spread of ground-to-ground missiles
    capable of sending a 1,000 pound payload 186 miles.
    The sanctions were category 2 sanctions, covering the transfer of
    missile components and dual-use items. Harsher sanctions are called
    for in event of a category 1 violation, covering the transfer of
    complete systems.

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