The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is fund­ing a joint nu­clear se­cu­rity center in Bei­jing de­signed to stem nu­clear weapons pro­lif­er­a­tion — de­spite re­cent state-run me­dia re­ports show­ing Bei­jing’s plans to hit U.S. cities with nu­clear mis­siles that would kill mil­lions of Amer­i­cans dur­ing a con­flict.

A White House of­fi­cial said the Bei­jing center would not be used to help pro­tect Chi­nese nu­clear weapons.

How­ever, crit­ics say the center will in­di­rectly sup­port China’s grow­ing nu­clear arse­nal be­cause the U.S. equip­ment, train­ing and other se­cu­rity know-how pro­vided to the Chi­nese will be used at fa­cil­i­ties in­volved in nu­cle­ar­weapons pro­duc­tion.

Also, the De­fense Depart­ment is part of the center, in­di­cat­ing a mil­i­tary com­po­nent to the as­sis­tance.

And since China has the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy, ques­tions are be­ing raised about why U.S. tax­pay­ers should be fund­ing a se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity in China.

The se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion also is un­usual be­cause China failed to co­op­er­ate with the U.S. gov­ern­ment in re­solv­ing past large-scale nu­clear es­pi­onage against the United States. The CIA con­cluded in the late 1990s that Chi­nese spies ob­tained se­crets on ev­ery de­ployed war­head in the U.S. arse­nal. The FBI botched its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the nu­clear spy­ing and has said it is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

The state-run China Daily news­pa­per last month an­nounced that work has be­gun on a U.S.-funded “Center of Ex­cel­lence on Nu­clear Se­cu­rity” that will be com­pleted by 2015.

The fa­cil­ity is be­ing built at the Changyang sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy park lo­cated on the south­west­ern sub­urbs of Bei­jing. It will be out­fit­ted with en­vi­ron­men­tal labs, re­sponse-force ex­er­cise fa­cil­i­ties, test sites for phys­i­cal pro­tec­tion, and build­ings for ex­per­i­ments, sci­en­tific re­search and tech­nol­ogy dis­plays and train­ing, the news­pa­per stated.

En­ergy Sec­re­tary Ernest Moniz trav­eled to China for the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony on Oct. 29.

The Chi­nese an­nounce­ment of the nu­clear center ap­peared in sev­eral state me­dia out­lets that day.

By co­in­ci­dence news about the center was fol­lowed a day later by an alarm­ing re­port in another news­pa­per, the xeno­pho­bic Com­mu­nist Party-af­fil­i­ated Global Times, re­veal­ing for the first time the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s de­tailed plans for us­ing sub­ma­rine-launched and road­mo­bile nu­clear mis­siles to at­tack Amer­i­can cities.

The Global Times ar­ti­cle in­cluded pho­tos of mis­sile sys­tems and maps show­ing nu­clear at­tacks on down­town Los An­ge­les, Seat­tle, New York, and other U.S. lo­ca­tions.

“In gen­eral, af­ter a nu­clear mis­sile strikes a city, the ra­dioac­tive dust pro­duced by 20 war­heads will be spread by the wind, form­ing a con­tam­i­nated area for thou­sands of kilo­me­ters,” the re­port said.

“Based on the ac­tual level of China’s one mil­lion tons TNT equiv­a­lent small nu­clear war­head tech­nol­ogy, the 12 JL-2 [sub­ma­rine-launched] nu­clear mis­siles car­ried by one Type 094 nu­clear sub­ma­rine could cause the de­struc­tion of five mil­lion to 12 mil­lion peo­ple, form­ing a very clear de­ter­rent ef­fect.”

Pen­tagon and State Depart­ment of­fi­cials had no com­ment on the nu­clear at­tack re­ports that were given of­fi­cial weight by their ap­pear­ance in sev­eral ma­jor party-con­trolled news out­lets.

On Satur­day, Adm. Jonathan W. Green­ert, chief of naval op­er­a­tions, sought to play down the threat as not cred­i­ble. Asked about the re­ported Chi­nese sub­ma­rine mis­sile threat against U.S. cities, he said that for China’s un­der­wa­ter strate­gic mis­sile threat to be ef­fec­tive “it has to be ac­cu­rate, you have to be stealthy, and sur­viv­able, and I’ll leave it at that.”

A U.S. of­fi­cial said Wash­ing­ton will spend $10 mil­lion on a build­ing in Bei­jing, but En­ergy Depart­ment spokes­woman had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the cost of the nu­clear center. Ques­tions were re­ferred to the Na­tional Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s 2011 news re­lease, which con­tained no de­tails.

White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil spokes­woman Caitlin Hay­den de­clined to com­ment on the pub­lished re­ports in China of plans for nu­clear strikes on U.S. cities.

But she said the nu­clear se­cu­rity center in Bei­jing would not be in­volved in se­cur­ing Chi­nese weapons.

She re­ferred ques­tions to a State Depart­ment fact sheet that said such fa­cil­i­ties “ad­vance the U.S. nu­clear se­cu­rity agenda by high­light­ing the im­por­tance of strength­en­ing nu­clear se­cu­rity world­wide and work­ing to ad­dress the need for ca­pac­ity build­ing, tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment, and co­or­di­na­tion of as­sis­tance on nu­clear se­cu­rity.”

The cen­ters pro­vide train­ing in the pro­tec­tion of nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties and ma­te­rial from theft or sab­o­tage, and also to de­velop meth­ods used to de­tect nu­clear ma­te­rial and det­o­na­tions.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the center is aimed at pre­vent­ing “il­licit trade of nu­clear tech­nolo­gies” — a prac­tice that U.S. of­fi­cials say China car­ried out dur­ing the 1990s by pro­vid­ing Pak­istan with nu­clear war­head tech­nol­ogy.

John Tkacik, a for­mer State Depart­ment in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial, said there is lit­tle need for such as center un­less it could pro­vide insight into China’s fis­sile ma­te­ri­als, in­fra­struc­ture and ca­pac­i­ties, and nu­clear weapons com­mand and con­trol.

“But I’m not sure it’s worth our trou­ble and ex­pense if the pur­pose is to mod­ern­ize China’s nu­clear ma­te­ri­als re­search and man­age­ment,” Mr. Tkacik said. “The Chi­nese know what their lim­i­ta­tions are, and they can af­ford to cover the en­tire cost of over­com­ing them if they want.”

Another con­cern is that the Chi­nese, by pub­li­ciz­ing the U.S. nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion, are send­ing an un­set­tling diplo­matic mes­sage to Ja­pan fol­low­ing the late Oc­to­ber pro­pa­ganda cam­paign dis­clos­ing planned Chi­nese nu­clear mis­sile strikes on the U.S. home­land, Mr. Tkacik said.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this week out­lined his think­ing on plans for U.S. troops in Afghanistan af­ter Pres­i­dent Obama’s dead­line of 2014 to pull them out.

Gen. Dempsey said troops would re­main in Afghanistan to help with sta­bil­ity and to as­sure that for­eign aid con­tin­ues to flow into the im­pov­er­ished south­west Asian state.

“Af­ter 2014, Afghanistan can live with­out a ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence of U.S. mil­i­tary forces in their coun­try,” Gen. Dempsey said Tues­day dur­ing a fo­rum hosted by The Wall Street Jour­nal. “They can’t live with­out any.”

The com­ments con­tra­dict Mr. Obama’s prom­ise to re­move all U.S. troops from Afghanistan next year.

“We will have them all out of there by 2014,” the pres­i­dent said dur­ing a cam­paign speech in Boul­der, Colo., on Sept. 2, 2012.

The ques­tion of the size of U.S. forces to be left be­hind in Afghanistan af­ter the 2014 dead­line is the wrong ques­tion, Gen. Dempsey said.

The cor­rect ques­tion is “what size force does the United States and the con­tribut­ing na­tions need to leave there to guar­an­tee that the money we’ve all com­mit­ted to Afghanistan will con­tinue to flow,” he said.

The four-star gen­eral said he is con­cerned that Tal­iban in­sur­gents could fur­ther desta­bi­lize the coun­try and prompt donor na­tions to cut off the $6 bil­lion an­nu­ally in aid that has been pledged for de­vel­op­ment.

“If that money dries up or if the money dries up that we’re pro­vid­ing, along with donors, then they can’t sur­vive,” he said. “This re­ally comes down to what will it take to guar­an­tee that the com­mit­ments we’ve made mon­e­tar­ily will con­tinue to be re­al­ized.”

A draft U.S.-Afghan agree­ment on troops in Afghanistan re­veals that U.S forces will be present in the coun­try for years to come. The draft ac­cord, dis­closed Tues­day by NBC News, out­lines plans for train­ing Afghan se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary forces and for jointly fight­ing al Qaeda.

Both sides are di­vided on the num­bers of troops to re­main in the coun­try. The United States want to keep 7,000 to 8,000 U.S. troops and ad­di­tional NATO forces. The Kabul gov­ern­ment wants up to 15,000 U.S. troops to stay be­hind.

Cur­rently, 60,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, along with 26,834 troops from other states un­der the In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity As­sis­tance Force.


Chi­nese Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pre­mier Zhang Gaoli talks with U.S. Sec­re­tary of En­ergy Ernest Moniz on Mon­day in Bei­jing.

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