Bei­jing aid­ing North Korea and Iran nuke ef­forts

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY SHAUN WATER­MAN

A U.N. re­port that says China is al­low­ing Iran and North Korea to col­lab­o­rate on banned nu­clear mis­sile tech­nol­ogy high­lights the weak­ness of in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to stop the spread of weapons of mass de­struc­tion and presents U.S. of­fi­cials with a dilemma.

Lawmakers, con­gres­sional staffers and for­mer of­fi­cials told The Wash­ing­ton Times there has been clear ev­i­dence for more than a decade of China’s role as­sist­ing North Korea, Iran and Pak­istan spread the knowhow and tech­nol­ogy needed to make nu­clear-armed bal­lis­tic mis­siles that can strike cities a con­ti­nent away.

“China has been help­ing [. . . ] rogue states avoid the sting of sanc­tions,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Le­hti­nen, chair­woman of the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee told The Times, re­ferr ing to U. N. sanc­tions im­posed since 2006.

China on May 17 ef­fec­tively blocked the re­lease of the U.N. re­port, pro­duced by a panel of ex­perts mon­i­tor­ing the arms em­bargo against North Korea. The in­ci­dent “proves that in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions [. . . ] are full of holes,” the Florida Repub­li­can added.

Suc­ces­sive U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tions have re­lied on China as a part­ner in ef­forts to curb North Korea’s nu­clear am­bi­tions. As a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, China is also one of the five global pow­ers that ul­ti­mately de­cide how in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions against Iran and North Korea en­forced.

But crit­ics charge that the Chinese have been play­ing a dou­ble game, wink­ing at vi­o­la­tions of the sanc­tions even as they signed up for them.

“It’s been so bla­tant that even the United Na­tions, which is typ­i­cally very cau­tious in its as­sess­ments, has now come out

are and said it,” said one se­nior House staffer who has long fol­lowed the is­sue.

Now that China’s dou­bledeal­ing has been ex­posed at the U.N., U.S. of­fi­cials must de­cide how to pro­ceed.

“China’s ev­i­dent fail­ure [to abide by its obli­ga­tions un­der U.N. sanc­tions] should be a mat­ter of great concern to U.S. offi- cials,” a Se­nate staffer said.

The spokesman for the Chinese mis­sion to the United Na­tions did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

“There are smart peo­ple who say that China was re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing Pak­istan a nu­clear power in the first place,” Sen. James Webb, Vir­ginia Demo­crat, said at a Se­nate hear­ing.

U.S. of­fi­cials have long be­lieved Pak­istan got nu­clear war­head de­signs from Bei­jing in the 1980s and then traded them to North Korea in the 1990’s in ex­change for North Kore­an­built bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

“The North Kore­ans were Chinese prox­ies in pro­lif­er­at­ing bal­lis­tic de­signs, com­po­nents and mis­siles to Pak­istan,”

Crit­ics charge that the Chinese have been play­ing a dou­ble game, wink­ing at vi­o­la­tions of the sanc­tions even as they signed up for them. “It’s been so bla­tant that even the United Na­tions, which is typ­i­cally ver y cau­tious in its as­sess­ments, has now come out and said it,” said one se­nior House staffer who has long fol­lowed the is­sue.

said John Tkacik, a for­mer head of China anal­y­sis at the State Depart­ment Bu­reau of In­tel­li­gence and Re­search.

Since 2006, both North Korea and Iran have been sub­ject to mul­ti­ple rounds of U.N. sanc­tions, which means any trade with them in nu­clear weapons or mis­siles is il­le­gal un­der in­ter­na­tional law.

A panel of ex­perts sub­mits reg­u­lar in­de­pen­dent re­ports on the sanc­tions.

At a closed-door session of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, Chinese Am­bas­sador Li Baodong asked for more time to con­sult with Bei­jing about the re­lease of the re­port, he said af­ter the meet­ing. A Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mat told The Times that the re­quest ef­fec­tively de­lays any con­sid­er­a­tion or pub­li­ca­tion of the doc­u­ment for the time be­ing.

The re­port does not ac­cuse Bei­jing by name, but the diplo­mat con­firmed to The Times that China was the “neigh­bor­ing third coun­try” cited in the re­port that had al­lowed “trans­ship­ment” of il­licit weapons tech­nol­ogy be­tween Iran and North Korea.

“Iran, Nor th Korea, and Syria have not only been help­ing aug­ment each other’s nu­clear-and mis­sile-ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but they have been learn­ing from each other how to cir­cum­vent U.S. and in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to stop them,” said Mrs. Ros-Le­hti­nen.

“The ques­tion now is, what will the ad­min­is­tra­tion do when pre­sented with clear and com­pelling proof [in an in­ter­na­tional fo­rum]?” asked Mr. Tkacik.

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