More than a dozen classified State Department cables made public Au. 30 reveal extensive and continuous Chinese arms and equipment transfers to Iran, Syria, North Korea and Pakistan, most of them in violation of U.N. sanctions or international arms control agreements.
The documents provide details on scores of Chinese companies that for more than a decade have been providing weapons of mass destruction goods and technology.
A May 5, 2003, cable, for example, discusses China’s supplying of glass-lined chemical processing technology used for Iran’s chemical weapons, and also “jet mill/micronnizers” that are used to make biological weapons.
A March 10, 2006, cable highlights China’s supplying several tons of stainless steel to North Korea’s main weapons trader and a “ring-rolling” machine to Pakistan for use in making missiles.
China also sold goods to Syria that were used to make rockets for Hezbollah terror ists in Lebanon. One cable said on July 6, 2007, South Korean officials intercepted a shipment of Chinese-origin steel on the way to Syria that “was to be used in the production of rockets for ” Hezbollah.
In 2006, after repeated appeals to China to halt the arms proliferation, the Bush administration imposed sanctions on four Chinese companies. A short time later, the Bush White House issued yet another appeal to the Chinese to take steps to stop the illicit arms trade, mainly with Iran.
Then a June 28, 2006, cable said that, despite a Chinese promise to “take immediate action in response to any new proliferation activities by these firms,” one of the sanctioned companies, China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation, shipped additional goods to Iran’s missile maker.
A month later at a meeting on the numerous proliferation cases, Chinese officials insisted they found nothing wrong or were still investigating.
One of the cases involved Chinese national Gao Yiming, who reveal growing U.S. frustration with continued Chinese proliferation, noting in the case of Dalian Sunny Industry that “since February 2006, we have repeatedly discussed with China our concerns regarding the proliferation-related trading activities” of the company for sales of composite materials used for missile frames.
Many of the cables outline talking points for U.S. officials to use in diplomatic exchanges with the Chinese that begin: “In the spirit of our cooperation on nonproliferation issues, we would like to alert you to. [. . . ]” The numerous cables that outlined ongoing arms proliferation raise questions about that cooperation.
Said former State Department China specialist John Tkacik: “I don’t know how to say Groundhog Day in Chinese, but the Chinese have not done anything to scale back their nuclear, chemical and missile proliferation despite 22 years of State Department demarches.
“Unlike the movie, however, the State Department doesn’t seem to have learned anything from Beijing’s repeated stiffarming, prevarications, evasions and outright lies. So Beijing just keeps on behaving as it always has,” he said.