China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues [Updated March 6, 2008]   [open pdf - 308KB]

From the Summary: "Congress has long been concerned about whether U.S. policy advances the national interest in reducing the role of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of China's technology reportedly include Pakistan and countries that the State Department says support terrorism, such as Iran and North Korea. This CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report, updated as warranted, discusses the security problem of China's role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. concerns about its role in weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, supplies from China have aggravated trends that result in ambiguous technical aid, more indigenous capabilities, longer-range missiles, and secondary (retransferred) proliferation. According to unclassified reports to Congress by the intelligence community, China has been a 'key supplier' of weapons technology, particularly missile or chemical technology. […] Skeptics question whether China's cooperation in weapons nonproliferation has warranted President Bush's pursuit of closer bilateral ties. Some observers say that President Bush has not forcefully pressed PRC leaders on weapons nonproliferation as a priority issue, even while imposing numerous U.S. sanctions targeting 'entities' but not the PRC government. The 110th Congress has considered the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 ('H.R. 1400; S. 970'). Since 2002, Bush has relied on China's 'considerable influence' on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons, but Beijing has hosted the Six-Party Talks with limited leverage and results. China has evolved to vote for some U.N. [United Nations] Security Council sanctions against nuclear proliferation but also has pursued balanced positions on North Korea and Iran, including continued economic and energy deals."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31555
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