GE-CHINA VEN­TURE PROBED

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Pen­tagon tech­nol­ogy se­cu­rity of­fi­cials met with Gen­eral Elec­tric of­fi­cials on Sept. 1 to dis­cuss se­cu­rity con­cerns re­lated to the trans­fer of jet avion­ics tech­nol­ogy to China.

The meet­ing was called after con­gres­sional staff pressed the Pen­tagon to re­view whether China could di­vert U.S. com­mer­cial jet tech­nol­ogy to mil­i­tary sys­tems, as Bei­jing has done with mis­sile, jet and satel­lite know-how.

GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said the meet­ing with of­fi­cials of the De­fense Tech­nol­ogy Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion (DTSA) was prompted by press re­ports crit­i­ciz­ing GE’s joint ven­ture with the state-run Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp. of China, or AVIC.

“This doesn’t in­volve mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy,” Mr. Kennedy said.

The meet­ing is one of sev­eral GE has had with ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing ear­lier ses­sions with Pen­tagon, Com­merce and State Depart­ment of­fi­cials.

The Pen­tagon has been un­der pres­sure for months from mem­bers of Congress con­cerned about China’s record of di­vert­ing civil­ian tech­nol­ogy for mil­i­tary pur­poses, and its rep­u­ta­tion for abus­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Vir­ginian Repub­li­can, ex­pressed con­cern about the joint ven­ture.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple have the right to be ap­palled that one of their largest cor­po­ra­tions is giv­ing away our tech­no­log­i­cal edge and a large seg­ment of our jobs to our na­tion’s largest mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial com­peti­tor,” Mr. Forbes said in a state­ment.

Sen. James M. In­hofe, Ok­la­homa Repub­li­can and se­nior mem­ber of the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, said he has se­ri­ous con­cerns that China will ex­ploit the tech­nolo­gies in­volved in the joint ven­ture for its mil­i­tary buildup.

“China has a his­tory of close co­op­er­a­tion be­tween its civil and mil­i­tary sec­tors,” he said. “The GE-AVIC joint ven­ture has not been ad­e­quately re­viewed by the Depart­ment of De­fense and I am not con­vinced that there are ap­pro­pri­ate safe­guards in place to pre­vent the trans­fer of GE avion­ics tech­nol­ogy into mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions.”

The GE-AVIC deal also is rais­ing po­lit­i­cal con­cerns among some in Congress about pos­si­ble gov­ern­ment fa­voritism to­ward GE: Com­pany chief ex­ec­u­tive Jef­frey R. Im­melt heads the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s jobs and com­pet­i­tive­ness pro­gram.

The Pen­tagon has not for­mally re­viewed the tech­nol­ogy trans­fer in­volved in the GEAVIC joint ven­ture be­cause no for­mal ex­port li­censes were sought, and GE in­sists its safe­guards are suf­fi­cient to pro­tect any data leak­age.

How­ever, de­fense of­fi­cials are con­cerned that help­ing China develop com­mer­cial avion­ics will boost its large-scale jet fighter pro­gram, which in­cludes a new J-20 stealth jet first flown in Jan­uary.

Ac­cord­ing to a DTSA state­ment to Congress in June, when GE first dis­cussed the Chi­nese ven­ture in 2009, “DTSA tech­ni­cal ex­perts raised ques­tions about the tech­nol­ogy as well as the in­dus­trial and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty se­cu­rity at the pro­posed fa­cil­ity [in China].

“DTSA ex­pressed reser­va­tions about the GE self-de­ter­mi­na­tion that the pro­posed tech­nolo­gies would not re­quire a li­cense,” the state­ment says. “At the time, GE did not pro­vide any de­tailed de­scrip­tions of the tech­nol­ogy in­volved in the joint ven­ture.”

The state­ment noted that “China tra­di­tion­ally has a his­tory of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween civil and mil­i­tary sec­tors [. . . ].

“DTSA opined that there was the po­ten­tial/pos­si­bil­ity for China to ex­ploit civil tech­nolo­gies for use in its own mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion.”

GE of­fi­cials said tech­nol­ogy will be pro­tected from diver­sion to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary by an agree­ment pro­hibit­ing Chi­nese mil­i­tary of­fi­cials from tak­ing part in the ven­ture, a mea­sure that se­cu­rity of­fi­cials say will be dif­fi­cult to en­force.

The DTSA state­ment also in­di­cated that the of­fice of the di­rec­tor of na­tional in­tel­li­gence has in­for­ma­tion about AVIC’s past in­volve­ment in il­licit arms pro­lif­er­a­tion, and de­tails of the sus­pected Chi­nese in­volv­ing in the cy­ber-theft of U.S. data from de­fense con­trac­tors in­volved in the new Joint Strike Fighter.

In 2004, China ac­quired from Boe­ing mil­i­tary nav­i­ga­tion tech­nol­ogy used on ad­vanced U.S. mis­siles and war­planes from gy­ro­scopic mi­crochips used on the guid­ance sys­tems of Boe­ing 737800 jets sold to China.

Wang Qingjian, a se­nior colonel posted to the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Ja­pan, worked with Ja­panese in­tel­li­gence by al­low­ing long-range elec­tronic sen­sors to pen­e­trate his of­fice by open­ing his of­fice win­dow and in­stalling elec­tronic bugs in the of­fices of the am­bas­sador and de­fense attache there.

Jia Shiqing, a PLA air force of­fi­cer who spied after he was de­nied pro­mo­tion to be head of the Air Force Mil­i­tary Train­ing Depart­ment. Jia down­loaded se­cret mil­i­tary re­ports to flash drives, which he hid in a body cav­ity while trans­port­ing them to spy han­dlers.

Lu Jian­hua, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences who sold se­crets to the U.S., Rus­sian, Ja­panese, Korean and Tai­wanese gov­ern­ments.

Gen. Jin also dis­cussed the Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tion to en­trap a Ja­panese code clerk at the con­sulate in Shang­hai who had fre­quented a pornography shop.

Gen. Jin is con­sid­ered a hard­liner, based on his 2005 com­ments urg­ing Bei­jing to at­tack Tai­wan if Taipei succeeds in join­ing the United Na­tions or the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

MARY F. CALVERT / THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

Get on the bus: In this 2008 file photo, U.S. sol­diers scurr y to­ward a Chi­nook chop­per that will take them to their mis­sion in Pak­tika Province, Afghanistan.

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