Sen. Helms Targets China Export Waivers
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 11) -- The Clinton Administration took another beating Thursday over its policy of exporting missile technology to China. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms accused the administration of "fudging" the facts on China's missile proliferation to avoid issuing sanctions against it.
Helms, a North Carolina Republican, accused political appointees on the National Security Council [NSC] of changing the language of a 1995 arms control report to muddle the widely-held belief that China had transferred missiles and missile technology to Pakistan. China had already been sanctioned for transfers relating to the M-11 missile.
Helms said during a hearing the administration was trying to duck the issue of more sanctions because China was believed to have transferred a complete M-11 missile.
"The NSC knew full well that it could not let the original text of the ... report go to Congress unchanged," Helms said. "Sanctioning China for such a violation would mean, among other things, the immediate termination of important licenses held by Hughes and Loral [which allowed for the launching of commercial U.S. satellites from China]."
Some Republicans believe the waivers were granted and sanctions avoided in this area because Loral Aerospace's Chairman, Bernard Schwartz, was the Democrats' biggest individual donor in 1995-96.
Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project and a well-known nuclear weapons proliferation expert, suggested the administration has had a policy lapse.
"Our sanctions laws, as written by Congress, are based on a simple idea," Milhollin said. "A foreign company can not import American missile technology with one hand, and proliferate missile technology to dangerous countries with the other. I think that simple idea has now been abandoned by the practice of the current administration."
Milhollin also criticized the administration's decision to transfer control over satellite exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department, calling it "an action that effectively pulls the teeth from any future U.S. sanctions against Chinese companies guilty of missile proliferation."
But President Bill Clinton said in a speech Thursday the policy of licensing the launching of U.S. satellites by China "clearly has served our national interest," adding that he was following a policy first established by President Ronald Reagan.