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  Key Issues Nuclear Weapons Issues Proliferation China CIA biannual report

China's WMD proliferation activities, from CIA's biannual "Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Advanced Conventional Munitions" 1 January Through 30 June 2003

Over the past several years, Beijing improved its nonproliferation posture through commitments to multilateral arms control regimes, promulgation of export controls, and strengthened oversight mechanisms, but the proliferation behavior of Chinese companies remains of great concern.

Nuclear.  In October 1997, China agreed to end cooperation with Iran on supplying a uranium conversion facility (UCF), not to enter into any new nuclear cooperation with Iran, and to bring to

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conclusion within a reasonable period of time the two existing projects.  We remained concerned that some interactions of concern between Chinese and Iranian entities were continuing.  China also made bilateral pledges to the United States that go beyond its 1992 NPT commitment not to assist any country in the acquisition or development of nuclear weapons.  For example, in May 1996, Beijing pledged that it would not provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.  We cannot rule out, however, some continued contacts subsequent to the pledge between Chinese entities and entities associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.

Ballistic Missile.  In November 2000, China committed not to assist, in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons, and in August 2002, as part of its commitment, promulgated a comprehensive missile-related export control system, similar in scope to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Annex.  China is not a member of the MTCR, but on several occasions has pledged not to sell MTCR Category I systems.

Although Beijing has taken some steps to educate firms and individuals on the new missile-related export regulations—offering its first national training course on Chinese export controls in February 2003—Chinese entities continued to work with Pakistan and Iran on ballistic missile-related projects during the first half of 2003.  Chinese entity assistance has helped Pakistan move toward domestic serial production of solid-propellant SRBMs and supported Pakistan's development of solid-propellant MRBMs.  Chinese-entity ballistic missile-related assistance helped Iran move toward its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of ballistic missiles.  In addition, firms in China provided dual-use missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concern—such as Iran, Libya, and North Korea.

Chemical.  Since 1997, the US imposed numerous sanctions against Chinese entities for providing material support to the Iranian CW program.  Evidence during the current reporting period showed that Chinese firms still provided dual-use CW-related production equipment and technology to Iran.  In October 2002, China promulgated new controls on biological items and updated chemical-related regulations, and now claims to control all major items on the Australia Group lists.

Advanced Conventional Weapons.  During the first half of 2003, China remained a primary supplier of advanced conventional weapons to Pakistan and Iran.   Islamabad also continued to negotiate with Beijing for China to build up to four frigates for Pakistan's navy and to develop the FC-1 fighter aircraft.