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"In my home there are few publications that we actually get hard copies of, but [Arms Control Today] is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first."

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
Press Releases

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on China, North Korea

Jonathan Yang

In July, Paula DeSutter, U.S. assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, testified that China has so far failed to implement and enforce acceptable export controls. Meanwhile, the United States imposed sanctions on five Chinese companies for exporting materials that could be used for producing weapons of mass destruction or missiles.

DeSutter told the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission—an advisory body that reports to Congress—during a July 24 hearing that China is not doing enough to enforce its missile nonproliferation commitments. The State Department has repeatedly accused Chinese state-owned companies of transferring missile technology to countries such as Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and Libya. China often defends the companies, denying the alleged proliferation activities occurred.

In 2002, China issued new export control laws aimed at curbing the spread of biological and chemical weapons technology and missiles and related technologies. (See ACT, November 2002.) DeSutter, however, said that China is not living up to the commitment it has made on paper. China is not properly enforcing its borders, and “it must establish a system of end-use verification checks to ensure that items approved for transfer are not diverted,” she stated.

Meanwhile, on July 3 the United States imposed sanctions on one North Korean and five Chinese companies for exporting materials to Iran that could be used for weapons of mass destruction programs. According to the sanctions, the exports occurred during the first half of 2002. The sanctions, imposed pursuant to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, took effect June 26 and will last for two years. The sanctions limit the dealings that these entities may have with the United States.

Additionally, the North Korean company—Changgwang Sinyong Corporation—was sanctioned July 25 pursuant to the 1976 Arms Export Control Act and the 1979 Export Administration Act (EAA); those sanctions last three years and eight months. Five days later, sanctions were also placed, for an indefinite period of time, on China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation (CPMIEC), pursuant to Executive Orders 12938 and 13094.

In addition to CPMIEC, the Chinese firms affected are Taian Foreign Trade General Corporation, Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant, Liyang Yunlong Chemical Equipment Group Company, and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). All of these companies, except Taian Foreign Trade General, are already under sanctions for previous nonproliferation violations.

The State Department refused to provide further details regarding the transfers these companies made that violated the Iran Nonproliferation Act. The sanctions imposed under the act prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing goods or services from and providing assistance to these entities. All sales of goods on the U.S. Munitions List or other defense-related materials and services to these entities are also prohibited. Additionally, any existing export licenses for the transfer of dual-use material to sanctioned entities are suspended, and no new licenses may be granted.

The State Department’s additional sanctions on the North Korean firm reflect its alleged transfer of Scud missiles to Yemen in December 2002. (See ACT, January/February 2003.) These latter sanctions are similar to those imposed under the Iran Nonproliferation Act but also ban the importation of products produced by the sanctioned company into the United States. In addition, because North Korea has “a non-market economy that is not a former member of the Warsaw Pact,” the Helms amendment to the EAA extends these sanctions to the North Korean government. The sanctions have little effect, however, because North Korea conducts negligible trade with the United States.

 

In July, Paula DeSutter, U.S. assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, testified that China has so far failed to implement and enforce acceptable export controls. 

Other Participants' Views on the North Korea Talks

Paul Kerr

The five other parties to the Beijing talks have all stated that North Korea should not have nuclear weapons. But the United States and the other four countries—China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia—have taken different approaches, voicing their support for U.S. negotiations with North Korea and displaying far less enthusiasm for containment efforts. These differences of opinion will likely complicate any U.S. efforts to gain future support for a hard line on North Korea and suggest that the White House might allow the other participants to take the lead in offering inducements such as energy and economic assistance.

China

Beijing retains strong economic ties with North Korea, accounting for the bulk of that country’s economic activity. China was not involved in negotiating the Agreed Framework in 1994, under which North Korea agreed to freeze its plutonium-based nuclear weapons program in exchange for certain aid, but Beijing has taken a leadership role in bringing the United States and North Korea into a format for talks acceptable to both sides, including hosting both rounds of talks.

Many experts believe that Beijing has been applying pressure on North Korea through back-door diplomacy to resolve the issue. China, however, has constantly emphasized its opposition to the use of force or pressure to resolve the issue and held that the United States should engage North Korea in direct dialogue. China has also opposed U.S. efforts to raise the issue at the United Nations, and a Chinese arms control official said Beijing expressed reservations about the U.S.-proposed Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), according to an August 23 Washington Post article.

China’s delegate to the August talks, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, stated August 26 that “the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear-free. At the same time, [North Korea’s] security concerns should also be addressed through…dialogue and peaceful talks.”

Japan

Tokyo has publicly taken the position closest to Washington but has still supported negotiations with North Korea. Japanese-North Korean relations appeared to make progress last September, when Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi became the first Japanese prime minister to visit North Korea. During that meeting, North Korea apologized for the kidnapping of a number of Japanese citizens and extended its moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003. The two sides also agreed to meet the next month to discuss normalizing diplomatic relations and undertaking some economic cooperation initiatives.

The normalization talks have been stalled, however, due to revelations about North Korea’s nuclear program and public anger over the kidnapping issue. Hatsuhisa Takashima, press secretary for Japan’s Foreign Ministry, said August 26 that Japan could normalize relations and “extend economic assistance” to North Korea if the latter resolves the issues surrounding its nuclear programs and the abductions.

Takashima added that Japan would “raise” the abduction issue during the talks but would leave the detailed discussion on the matter to bilateral talks it hopes to hold with North Korea on the sidelines of the Beijing talks.

Japan has shown somewhat greater interest in putting pressure on North Korea than the other participants in the Beijing discussions. Tokyo has expressed interest in stemming North Korea’s trade in illicit cargo, such as illegal drugs, and has stepped up port inspections of North Korean ships traveling between the two countries. Japan is also a participant in the PSI but has not publicly committed to any further interdiction efforts, partly because the PSI is still a work in progress. It is unknown whether Japan will fully participate in the PSI’s September Australia-hosted interdiction exercises or merely observe, an Australian government official said August 27.

South Korea

South Korea has repeatedly expressed its opposition to a nuclear-armed North Korea but has emphasized a negotiated solution to the issue. Although the nuclear issue has somewhat strained the countries’ bilateral relationship, Seoul and Pyongyang have continued discussions about various bilateral issues for some time.

South Korea has proposed a step-by-step negotiating strategy with Pyongyang to address that country’s April proposal. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) President Roh Moo-hyun said August 15 that, if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear weapons, South Korea “will take the lead in developing [North Korea’s] economy” and will “lure international organizations and funds” to North Korea.

Russia

Moscow’s ties to North Korea have weakened considerably since the end of the Cold War, but Russia has publicly been one of the countries most supportive of North Korea. Russia has repeatedly expressed its support for a negotiated resolution of North Korea’s nuclear program. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said August 15 that Russia was considering the merits of a “joint document on security guarantees...[to North Korea] to which Russia and China could accede,” according to the official ITAR-Tass news agency.

The five other parties to the Beijing talks have all stated that North Korea should not have nuclear weapons. But the United States and the other four countries...

IAEA Report Highlights Inconsistencies in Iranian Statements About

Paul Kerr

On August 26, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report saying that “there remain a number of important outstanding issues,” about Tehran’s nuclear programs that require “urgent resolution.” The report updates the agency’s Iran investigation, presents new information about Iran’s nuclear activities, and reveals some inconsistencies in information Iran had previously provided to the IAEA about these programs. The agency will continue to investigate the unresolved issues about Iran’s nuclear activities, the report says.

Uranium Enrichment

Gas Centrifuges

One of the most important portions of the report concerns Iran’s gas centrifuge uranium-enrichment program. Washington publicly confirmed in December that Iran has a uranium-enrichment facility at the Iranian town of Natanz. Uranium enrichment can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, but it also has civilian energy applications.

Iran has made substantial progress on the facility. By February, Iran had installed more than 100 centrifuges at the Natanz facility’s pilot plant, but Tehran says it plans to install more than 1,000 by the end of 2003. A commercial plant also located at the site is expected to contain enough centrifuges to produce the equivalent of 25-nuclear bombs worth of fissile material each year.

The centrifuge technology’s origin is unclear. A French report presented at the May meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group asserted that the technology is likely of Pakistani origin, but the August 26 IAEA report says the machines are of “an early European design.”

The advanced state of the pilot facility has raised questions about whether Iran has tested centrifuges with nuclear material. The existence of the facility does not in itself violate Iran’s safeguards agreement, but testing centrifuges with nuclear material without declaring such tests to the IAEA would do so.

Tehran clams it used simulations to test the centrifuges without nuclear material. The report, however, dismisses this explanation and states that environmental samples taken at Natanz by agency inspectors in March and June “revealed particles of high [sic] enriched uranium.” Agency inspectors use sampling to determine if nuclear materials are present in a given location—a possible indication of past nuclear activity.

Iran had not declared that it possesses highly enriched uranium. Tehran has cited its importation of contaminated centrifuge components to explain the material’s presence. The report comments that “it is possible to envisage a number of possible scenarios to explain the presence of high enriched uranium” in the samples, adding that the IAEA will evaluate these unspecified scenarios during the course of its investigation.

A State Department official told Arms Control Today in June that Iran might have used uranium hexafluoride—the material introduced into gas centrifuges for processing into reactor-grade fuel—imported from China in 1991 to test centrifuges. A June 6 IAEA report revealed Tehran’s failure to disclose that it imported this material, although its safeguards agreement required it to do so. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) The report added that some of this material was found to be missing and Iran had not accounted for its absence. Iran asserts that it either evaporated or leaked from its containers. The agency is continuing to investigate the issue.

The August report revealed some other inconsistencies regarding Iran’s explanation of the enrichment program. For example, Iran had claimed the program was entirely indigenous and began in 1997 but has now acknowledged importing centrifuge components and gives 1985 as the correct starting date. Additionally, Iran initially claimed to have tested its centrifuges with inert gases but now says this is not the case.

Kala Electric Company

Inspectors took environmental samples at the Kala Electric Company during an August 9-12 visit, something Iran had previously refused to allow. The IAEA has been particularly interested in conducting sampling at this site because Tehran acknowledged it produced centrifuge components there, and the agency believes that sampling could help verify the government’s claim that it has not tested centrifuges with nuclear material. The samples are still being analyzed, but the most recent report notes that “considerable modification” of the Kala Electric Company site since inspectors’ first visit in March could adversely impact the samples’ accuracy.

Iran Plunges Ahead

Although the IAEA Board of Governors asked Iran in June to refrain from introducing nuclear material into the centrifuges at the Natanz facility, Iran did so on June 25 to test a single centrifuge, according to the August report. Iran began testing a small cascade of 10 centrifuges on August 19. A cascade is a series of connected centrifuges used to ensure that the uranium is enriched sufficiently. Tehran is following the appropriate safeguards measures for the facility, the report adds.

Laser Enrichment

The recent report also discusses Iran’s laser-based uranium-enrichment program—an alternate method of enriching uranium mentioned as an issue of concern in the June report. The report states that “Iran has a substantial [research and development] program on lasers,” but Iran claims not to have an enrichment program. IAEA inspectors visited two sites, one at Ramandeh and the other at Lashkar Ab’ad. Only the latter was identified as having a laser testing facility, but inspectors did not find any activities related to uranium enrichment being conducted there. The IAEA has asked Iran to confirm that there had not been any past “activities related to uranium laser enrichment” at any location in the country and to allow environmental sampling at that location—a request the government is considering. Tehran had previously refused access to these sites.

Other Issues of Concern

The report also says Tehran has provided additional information about its heavy-water reactor program. The government has said it plans to construct a heavy-water research reactor at Arak, where it has also been constructing a heavy-water production plant, starting in 2004. A State Department official interviewed in June said the reactor might be part of a nuclear weapons program because it is too small to contribute significantly to a civilian energy program but could generate plutonium for reprocessing into fissile material.

According to the report, Iran claims the reactor is for producing isotopes for civilian purposes and that its size is appropriate for that purpose. The report, however, notes that Iran did not provide information about hot cells, which the IAEA says it would expect to find at a facility meant to produce isotopes. Hot cells are facilities used in isotope production, but they can also be used in reprocessing spent nuclear reactor fuel. The IAEA has asked Iran to look into the matter further, citing reports that Tehran is attempting to procure equipment used in hot cells.

The report also addresses Iran’s claim that it is building a facility that would convert uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride without having tested it with nuclear material. Iran first told the agency that it obtained design and testing information about the facility from another country but has now admitted that it conducted uranium conversion experiments in the early 1990s, according to the report. An Iranian official announced the facility’s completion in March.

In addition, the August report contains new information about Iran’s conversion of imported uranium tetrafluoride into uranium metal. Tehran has told the IAEA that it had undertaken these conversion experiments because it had once considered constructing a uranium metal-fueled reactor. The United States is especially concerned about this issue because the most likely use Iran would have for uranium metal would be in nuclear warheads, a State Department official said in June.

Excerpts From the IAEA August 26, 2003 Report

D. Findings, Assessments and Next Steps
47. In connection with the nuclear material imported by Iran in 1991, Iran has submitted ICRs, PILs and MBRs, as well as relevant DIQs. The Agency has verified nuclear material presented to it and is currently auditing relevant source data. The issue of depleted uranium in the UF4 remains to be resolved, and the environmental samples taken in connection with the UF6 cylinders need to be analysed. To confirm that the pellet irradiation experiments have been solely for radioisotope production, the Agency has taken samples from the hot cells and lead shielded cells at the laboratories of the Tehran Nuclear Research Centre. The analytical results are not yet available.
48. In its letter of 19 August 2003, Iran acknowledged that it had carried out uranium conversion experiments in the early 1990s, experiments that Iran should have reported in accordance with its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement. Iran has stated, however, that it is taking corrective action in that regard. The Agency will continue its evaluation of the uranium conversion programme.
49. As regards enrichment, and as mentioned earlier, during the meeting of 9–12 August 2003, the Agency team received new information about the chronology and details of Iran’s centrifuge enrichment programme. Agency evaluation of the new information will require, inter alia, an assessment of the various phases of the programme and analysis of environmental samples taken at the Kalaye Electric Company workshop.
50. Additional work is also required to enable the Agency to arrive at conclusions about Iran’s statements that there have been no uranium enrichment activities in Iran involving nuclear material. The Agency intends to continue its assessment of the Iranian statement that the high enriched uranium particles identified in samples taken at Natanz could be attributable to contamination from imported components. As agreed to by Iran, this process will involve discussions in Iran with Iranian officials and staff involved in the R&D efforts and visits by Agency inspectors and enrichment technology experts to facilities and other relevant locations. In that connection, Iran has agreed to provide the Agency with all information about the centrifuge components and other contaminated equipment it obtained from abroad, including their origin and the locations where they have been stored and used in Iran, as well as access to those locations so that the Agency may take environmental samples. It is also essential that the Agency receive information from Member States either from which nuclear related equipment or other assistance relevant to the development of Iran’s nuclear programme has been exported to Iran, or which have information on such assistance.
51. In connection with the Agency’s investigation of Iran’s heavy water reactor programme, the Agency is currently evaluating design information provided on the heavy water reactor.
52. Since the last report was issued, Iran has demonstrated an increased degree of co-operation in relation to the amount and detail of information provided to the Agency and in allowing access requested by the Agency to additional locations and the taking of associated environmental samples. The decision by Iran to start the negotiations with the Agency for the conclusion of an Additional Protocol is also a positive step. However, it should be noted that information and access were at times slow in coming and incremental, and that, as noted above, some of the information was in contrast to that previously provided by Iran. In addition, as also noted above, there remain a number of important outstanding issues, particularly with regard to Iran’s enrichment programme, that require urgent resolution. Continued and accelerated co-operation and full transparency on the part of Iran are essential for the Agency to be in a position to provide at an early date the assurances required by Member States.
53. The Director General will inform the Board of additional developments for its further consideration at the November meeting of the Board, or earlier, as appropriate.

 

 


 

On August 26, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report saying that “there remain a number of important outstanding issues"...

Bush Emphasis on Proliferation Sanctions Stirs Debate

Wade Boese

In a radical departure from its predecessor’s practice, the Bush administration has been gung-ho about imposing proliferation sanctions, levying penalties against foreign companies and individuals 34 times in 2002 and 21 times so far this year.

The rate at which the Bush administration is imposing sanctions is three times greater than that of the Clinton administration, which averaged eight sanctions per year, according to June congressional testimony by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton.

The change has less to do with changes in the underlying U.S. laws authorizing sanctions than a change in philosophy. Of the laws cited in the administration’s sanctions announcements, with the notable exception of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, most were also in effect during much of the Clinton administration’s two terms.

Top Bush administration officials are confident that imposing sanctions can change the cost/benefit analysis of potential proliferators and deter future proliferation. The administration repeatedly warns that countries can do business with the United States or with rogue regimes and terrorists, but not both. But skeptics, including some former top Clinton administration officials, contend that, although the threat of sanctions can be a useful lever to try and change behavior, actually imposing sanctions can have limited utility and be merely symbolic.

The Bush Administration and Sanctions


The driving force behind the policy shift is Bolton, a former senior vice president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute who advocates an in-your-face approach to dealing with rogue regimes. The undersecretary has pushed the State Department to impose sanctions to the fullest extent and has discouraged using legal provisions that allow the president to waive sanctions out of concern for broader national security interests.

In the past, and still to some degree today, various U.S. government entities have been reluctant to impose sanctions because they are generally acknowledged to be a double-edged sword. The State Department, which puts a premium on fostering good relations with foreign governments, has concerns about imposing sanctions for fear of upsetting other capitals, while the intelligence community is cautious about potentially exposing U.S. sources and methods critical to tracking proliferation. Backed by U.S. businesses worried about losing trade opportunities, the Commerce Department has generally opposed sanctions.

The Bush administration is proud of its aggressive sanctions style. Bolton noted in June that “for the first time, the State Department is reviewing every known transfer to Iran” to identify items that could aid Tehran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction or missiles.

Since taking office, the Bush administration has imposed sanctions on a total of 32 foreign entities—a term for both companies and individuals. The United States has penalized 18 of those entities multiple times since January 2001. A North Korean firm, Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, ranks as the top sanctions recipient with seven, the latest publicly announced July 25.

Chinese entities appear most frequently on the sanctioned roster. Of the 32 entities, 19 are Chinese. Indian and Moldovan entities are the next most numerous at three apiece. Two Armenian, two Pakistani, one Iranian, one Jordanian, and the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation account for the others. No entities from Russia, which is frequently cited in U.S. intelligence reports as a proliferation source, have been publicly penalized.

U.S. proliferation sanctions generally prohibit the charged entity from signing contracts, receiving aid, or importing arms and dual-use goods from the U.S. government for two years. Sometimes, the penalties can be imposed for longer periods, such as the July 30 announcement that the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation would be sanctioned indefinitely.

Washington may also authorize stiffer sanctions barring commercial imports and exports with the United States. Earlier this year, the United States slapped such sanctions on the Chinese firm China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), which is expected to lose about $160 million annually while the sanctions are in force.

But NORINCO is an exception. Many of the sanctioned entities do not trade with the United States or receive U.S. assistance. For these reasons, sanction critics assert that sanctions are often ineffectual and provide more psychological satisfaction than practical results.

Bush administration officials disagree. They claim that, even though the United States might do little business with sanctioned entities, the aim is to shame governments to better regulate their trade and brand proliferators as bad actors to discourage any business with them and to serve as warnings to others. Moreover, the officials argue that there has to be some penalty for proliferation to show that the United States is serious about stopping it.

Although administration officials say their sanctions are starting to have an impact, they would not cite specific examples. A senior State Department official interviewed August 25 said that it would take some time before results become evident but also remarked that this administration’s high number of sanctions point to the failure of its predecessor’s approach. This administration is “trying to see what happens when you impose sanctions and leave them in place,” the official stated.

The Clinton Approach

The Clinton administration preferred a more diplomatic approach. It often issued demarches—formal diplomatic notes—to notify foreign governments of activities by its entities that Washington wanted stopped. Sanctions were viewed as an option if demarches and diplomacy did not prove fruitful.

A current State Department official interviewed August 1 described the demarche approach as flawed because demarches reveal more information than sanctions announcements. Proliferators, according to the official, used demarches to better hide their dangerous dealings.

Noting that the intelligence community must approve all demarches, John Holum, Bolton’s predecessor in the Clinton administration, defended demarches August 22. He explained that foreign governments would not know what behavior the United States wanted changed without some details. Holum further stated that the U.S. objective was to change future behavior, not merely to punish offenders.

Bush administration officials say they still use demarches but more selectively than before. Washington might send demarches, rather than immediately applying sanctions, to governments that Washington considers close allies or that have demonstrated histories of responding to or acting upon past demarches.

China Under Scrutiny


No one country better reflects the two administrations’ contrasting styles than China. Between May 21, 1997, and the end of the Clinton administration, no new sanctions were imposed on Chinese entities.

During that period, the Clinton administration’s China policy was often at the center of a political firestorm over the direction of U.S.-Chinese relations. The Clinton administration was trying to negotiate China’s accession to the World Trade Organization against strong opposition from diverse quarters, including those who objected to Beijing’s human rights record and others who saw China as a growing threat to U.S. security. This latter constituency was bolstered by high-profile charges of Chinese nuclear espionage and illegal U.S. business assistance to China’s missile programs.

With regard to nonproliferation issues, Holum said the Clinton administration committed itself to improving the Chinese government’s export controls through intensive talks rather than punishing Chinese entities with sanctions and risking a decline in Chinese cooperation. Although the United States did not sanction any Chinese entities, it did suspend the right of U.S. companies to launch satellites on Chinese rockets. The Clinton administration talks led to a November 2000 Chinese commitment not to export missiles or related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

The Bush administration has taken the opposite tack. Beginning June 26, 2001, it has sanctioned Chinese entities 37 times. Paula DeSutter, assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, said July 24 that Chinese “entities are involved in too many sensitive transfers for the problem merely to be one of imperfect enforcement.”

Robert Einhorn, former assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation in the Clinton administration, said in July that the current administration does not always explain to China why its entities are being sanctioned and what Beijing can do to avoid future penalties. “The frequent imposition of sanctions, moreover, has diluted their value as a means of influencing Chinese behavior,” he added.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Liu Jieyi, a top Chinese arms control official, echoed Einhorn, claiming that Washington does not inform China what its entities are doing wrong. Liu speculated that Chinese firms are being punished for simply exporting to Iran.

Bush administration officials argue otherwise. They claim troublesome trade from China continues, despite Beijing’s unveiling last year of new rules regulating missile and dual-use chemical and biological exports. “In dealing with the issue of China and nonproliferation, we have our work cut out for us,” DeSutter said.


Bush Record on Proliferation Sanctions

Wade Boese

Can more flies be caught with honey or vinegar? The Bush and Clinton administrations would undoubtedly answer the question differently.

Since taking office, the Bush administration has taken a different tack to dealing with proliferation problems than its predecessor. Whereas the Clinton administration generally tried to engage proliferators and entice them to behave better, the Bush administration often seeks to change behavior through isolation and punishment. Although the Clinton administration did penalize and the Bush administration does talk, both have clearly demonstrated their policy preferences.

The two administrations’ different philosophies are reflected in their sanctions records. Over the past two years, the Bush administration has imposed sanctions 55 times on 30 different foreign entities—a term for both companies and individuals. In comparison, the Clinton administration imposed sanctions eight times per year, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said in June congressional testimony.

The bar graph shows how many times the United States has imposed sanctions over the past four years. The table shows the different entities that the Bush administration has sanctioned. More than half of those entities have been sanctioned multiple times.

Careful readers will note a discrepancy between the two graphics. The total number of sanctions in the table equals 61, while the bar graph shows that the Bush administration has imposed sanctions a total of 63 times. This difference reflects the fact that State Department officials in interviews insisted the Bush administration imposed sanctions eight times in 2001, but specific evidence could only be produced for six.

Table 1. Proliferation Sanctions Levied by the U.S. Government from 2000-2003

Table 2. Entities Receiving Proliferation Sanctions from the Bush Administration

Entity
Country
Times Sanctions Imposed
Changgwang Sinyong Corporation North Korea 7
Q.C. Chen* China 4
China Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 3
China Precision Machinery Import/ Export Corporation China 3
Jiangsu Yongli Chemicals & Technologoy Import and Export Corporation China 3
Wha Cheong Tai Company China 3
Mohammed Al-Khatib* Jordan 2
China Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation China 2
China National Machinery and Equipment Import Export Corporation China 2
China North Industries Corporation, NORINCO China 2
China Shipbuilding Trading Company China 2
CMEC Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 2
CMEC Machinery and Electrical Import Export Company, Ltd. China 2
Cuanta, SA Moldova 2
Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group Iran 2
Hans Raj Shiv* India 2
Mikhail Pavlovich Vladov* Moldova 2
Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant, aka Chemet Global Ltd. China 2
China Metallurgical Equipment Corp. China 1
China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation China 1
China National Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 1
Computer & Communications SRL Moldova 1
Khan Research Laboratories Pakistan 1
Liyang Chemical Equipment China 1
Liyang Yunlong China 1
Liyang Yunlong Chemical Equipment Group Company China 1
Lizen Open Joint Stock Company Armenia 1
National Development Complex Pakistan 1
NEC Engineers Private, Ltd. India 1
Protech Consultants Private, Ltd. India 1
Armen Sargsian* Armenia 1
Taian Foreign Trade General Corp. China 1
Total Number of Sanctions   61

* Individuals personally sanctioned

Sources For Tables 1 and 2: Federal Register and conversations with State Department officials

 

In a radical departure from its predecessor’s practice, the Bush administration has been gung-ho about imposing proliferation sanctions...

Countries Draft Guidelines for Intercepting Proliferation

Wade Boese

The United States and 10 of its closest allies are drafting a document of principles to guide their efforts to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles, and related technologies to terrorists and states of concern. This “rules of the road” document, which would not be legally binding, could be approved at a September 2003 meeting of the 11 countries in Paris.

Washington is leading the effort to draft the new document as part of its evolving Proliferation Security Initiative, which President George W. Bush first announced May 31. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) The initiative is intended to enhance participating countries’ capabilities individually and collectively to halt proliferation around the globe.

Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom have joined the U.S. initiative. Other countries might also be asked to participate or aid interdictions in the future.

Although the participating countries have identified North Korea and Iran as top proliferation threats, the initiative is ostensibly not directed at any particular country or countries. Government officials from the United States and other countries have refuted descriptions of the initiative as a blockade of North Korea.

In addition to working on the initiative’s guiding principles, the 11 countries agreed at a July 9-10 meeting in Brisbane, Australia, to begin conducting joint exercises to learn how better to coordinate and perform interdictions at sea, on land, and in the air. For the near term, these joint exercises will largely piggyback on or be conducted in conjunction with previously planned training missions and operations. The first exercise, which Australia will host, is scheduled for early September and will take place in the Coral Sea.

The 11 countries are confident they can carry out interdictions successfully, but there is uncertainty about whether they can gather sufficient intelligence to act. Speaking to reporters July 10, Paul O’Sullivan, deputy secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that perhaps the biggest challenge would be obtaining “enough information about the proliferation activities that are going on in a timely way.”

Crafting new international laws to facilitate interdictions is not a goal of the initiative. Although the chairman’s statement urged participating countries to “take robust and creative steps now,” it also underscored that any actions taken should “be consistent with existing domestic and international legal frameworks.”

Participating countries are still trying to figure out what types of actions are legally permissible. Speaking for the U.S. government, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said August 13, “We ourselves
haven’t hit on the total complete answer to our questions about liability and about international legality.”

One diplomat familiar with the initiative said in a July 30 interview, “Each country needs to do their own homework to find out what they can do.” The official added that the primary objective is to pinpoint “what we are able to do rather than pontificate over what we can’t do.”

Although Taiwan is not part of the initiative, a U.S. State Department official said Taiwan’s early August detainment of a ship bound for North Korea until it offloaded dual-use chemicals was “conceptually” in line with the possible types of action foreseen under the initiative.


 

The United States and 10 of its closest allies are drafting a document of principles to guide their efforts to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction...

Bush Emphasis on Proliferation Sanctions Stirs Debate

Wade Boese

In a radical departure from its predecessor’s practice, the Bush administration has been gung-ho about imposing proliferation sanctions, levying penalties against foreign companies and individuals 34 times in 2002 and 21 times so far this year.

The rate at which the Bush administration is imposing sanctions is three times greater than that of the Clinton administration, which averaged eight sanctions per year, according to June congressional testimony by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton.

The change has less to do with changes in the underlying U.S. laws authorizing sanctions than a change in philosophy. Of the laws cited in the administration’s sanctions announcements, with the notable exception of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, most were also in effect during much of the Clinton administration’s two terms.

Top Bush administration officials are confident that imposing sanctions can change the cost/benefit analysis of potential proliferators and deter future proliferation. The administration repeatedly warns that countries can do business with the United States or with rogue regimes and terrorists, but not both. But skeptics, including some former top Clinton administration officials, contend that, although the threat of sanctions can be a useful lever to try and change behavior, actually imposing sanctions can have limited utility and be merely symbolic.

The Bush Administration and Sanctions


The driving force behind the policy shift is Bolton, a former senior vice president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute who advocates an in-your-face approach to dealing with rogue regimes. The undersecretary has pushed the State Department to impose sanctions to the fullest extent and has discouraged using legal provisions that allow the president to waive sanctions out of concern for broader national security interests.

In the past, and still to some degree today, various U.S. government entities have been reluctant to impose sanctions because they are generally acknowledged to be a double-edged sword. The State Department, which puts a premium on fostering good relations with foreign governments, has concerns about imposing sanctions for fear of upsetting other capitals, while the intelligence community is cautious about potentially exposing U.S. sources and methods critical to tracking proliferation. Backed by U.S. businesses worried about losing trade opportunities, the Commerce Department has generally opposed sanctions.

The Bush administration is proud of its aggressive sanctions style. Bolton noted in June that “for the first time, the State Department is reviewing every known transfer to Iran” to identify items that could aid Tehran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction or missiles.

Since taking office, the Bush administration has imposed sanctions on a total of 32 foreign entities—a term for both companies and individuals. The United States has penalized 18 of those entities multiple times since January 2001. A North Korean firm, Changgwang Sinyong Corporation, ranks as the top sanctions recipient with seven, the latest publicly announced July 25.

Chinese entities appear most frequently on the sanctioned roster. Of the 32 entities, 19 are Chinese. Indian and Moldovan entities are the next most numerous at three apiece. Two Armenian, two Pakistani, one Iranian, one Jordanian, and the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation account for the others. No entities from Russia, which is frequently cited in U.S. intelligence reports as a proliferation source, have been publicly penalized.

U.S. proliferation sanctions generally prohibit the charged entity from signing contracts, receiving aid, or importing arms and dual-use goods from the U.S. government for two years. Sometimes, the penalties can be imposed for longer periods, such as the July 30 announcement that the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation would be sanctioned indefinitely.

Washington may also authorize stiffer sanctions barring commercial imports and exports with the United States. Earlier this year, the United States slapped such sanctions on the Chinese firm China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), which is expected to lose about $160 million annually while the sanctions are in force.

But NORINCO is an exception. Many of the sanctioned entities do not trade with the United States or receive U.S. assistance. For these reasons, sanction critics assert that sanctions are often ineffectual and provide more psychological satisfaction than practical results.

Bush administration officials disagree. They claim that, even though the United States might do little business with sanctioned entities, the aim is to shame governments to better regulate their trade and brand proliferators as bad actors to discourage any business with them and to serve as warnings to others. Moreover, the officials argue that there has to be some penalty for proliferation to show that the United States is serious about stopping it.

Although administration officials say their sanctions are starting to have an impact, they would not cite specific examples. A senior State Department official interviewed August 25 said that it would take some time before results become evident but also remarked that this administration’s high number of sanctions point to the failure of its predecessor’s approach. This administration is “trying to see what happens when you impose sanctions and leave them in place,” the official stated.

The Clinton Approach

The Clinton administration preferred a more diplomatic approach. It often issued demarches—formal diplomatic notes—to notify foreign governments of activities by its entities that Washington wanted stopped. Sanctions were viewed as an option if demarches and diplomacy did not prove fruitful.

A current State Department official interviewed August 1 described the demarche approach as flawed because demarches reveal more information than sanctions announcements. Proliferators, according to the official, used demarches to better hide their dangerous dealings.

Noting that the intelligence community must approve all demarches, John Holum, Bolton’s predecessor in the Clinton administration, defended demarches August 22. He explained that foreign governments would not know what behavior the United States wanted changed without some details. Holum further stated that the U.S. objective was to change future behavior, not merely to punish offenders.

Bush administration officials say they still use demarches but more selectively than before. Washington might send demarches, rather than immediately applying sanctions, to governments that Washington considers close allies or that have demonstrated histories of responding to or acting upon past demarches.

China Under Scrutiny


No one country better reflects the two administrations’ contrasting styles than China. Between May 21, 1997, and the end of the Clinton administration, no new sanctions were imposed on Chinese entities.

During that period, the Clinton administration’s China policy was often at the center of a political firestorm over the direction of U.S.-Chinese relations. The Clinton administration was trying to negotiate China’s accession to the World Trade Organization against strong opposition from diverse quarters, including those who objected to Beijing’s human rights record and others who saw China as a growing threat to U.S. security. This latter constituency was bolstered by high-profile charges of Chinese nuclear espionage and illegal U.S. business assistance to China’s missile programs.

With regard to nonproliferation issues, Holum said the Clinton administration committed itself to improving the Chinese government’s export controls through intensive talks rather than punishing Chinese entities with sanctions and risking a decline in Chinese cooperation. Although the United States did not sanction any Chinese entities, it did suspend the right of U.S. companies to launch satellites on Chinese rockets. The Clinton administration talks led to a November 2000 Chinese commitment not to export missiles or related technologies capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

The Bush administration has taken the opposite tack. Beginning June 26, 2001, it has sanctioned Chinese entities 37 times. Paula DeSutter, assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, said July 24 that Chinese “entities are involved in too many sensitive transfers for the problem merely to be one of imperfect enforcement.”

Robert Einhorn, former assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation in the Clinton administration, said in July that the current administration does not always explain to China why its entities are being sanctioned and what Beijing can do to avoid future penalties. “The frequent imposition of sanctions, moreover, has diluted their value as a means of influencing Chinese behavior,” he added.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Liu Jieyi, a top Chinese arms control official, echoed Einhorn, claiming that Washington does not inform China what its entities are doing wrong. Liu speculated that Chinese firms are being punished for simply exporting to Iran.

Bush administration officials argue otherwise. They claim troublesome trade from China continues, despite Beijing’s unveiling last year of new rules regulating missile and dual-use chemical and biological exports. “In dealing with the issue of China and nonproliferation, we have our work cut out for us,” DeSutter said.


Bush Record on Proliferation Sanctions

Wade Boese

Can more flies be caught with honey or vinegar? The Bush and Clinton administrations would undoubtedly answer the question differently.

Since taking office, the Bush administration has taken a different tack to dealing with proliferation problems than its predecessor. Whereas the Clinton administration generally tried to engage proliferators and entice them to behave better, the Bush administration often seeks to change behavior through isolation and punishment. Although the Clinton administration did penalize and the Bush administration does talk, both have clearly demonstrated their policy preferences.

The two administrations’ different philosophies are reflected in their sanctions records. Over the past two years, the Bush administration has imposed sanctions 55 times on 30 different foreign entities—a term for both companies and individuals. In comparison, the Clinton administration imposed sanctions eight times per year, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said in June congressional testimony.

The bar graph shows how many times the United States has imposed sanctions over the past four years. The table shows the different entities that the Bush administration has sanctioned. More than half of those entities have been sanctioned multiple times.

Careful readers will note a discrepancy between the two graphics. The total number of sanctions in the table equals 61, while the bar graph shows that the Bush administration has imposed sanctions a total of 63 times. This difference reflects the fact that State Department officials in interviews insisted the Bush administration imposed sanctions eight times in 2001, but specific evidence could only be produced for six.

Table 1. Proliferation Sanctions Levied by the U.S. Government from 2000-2003

Table 2. Entities Receiving Proliferation Sanctions from the Bush Administration

Entity
Country
Times Sanctions Imposed
Changgwang Sinyong Corporation North Korea 7
Q.C. Chen* China 4
China Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 3
China Precision Machinery Import/ Export Corporation China 3
Jiangsu Yongli Chemicals & Technologoy Import and Export Corporation China 3
Wha Cheong Tai Company China 3
Mohammed Al-Khatib* Jordan 2
China Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation China 2
China National Machinery and Equipment Import Export Corporation China 2
China North Industries Corporation, NORINCO China 2
China Shipbuilding Trading Company China 2
CMEC Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 2
CMEC Machinery and Electrical Import Export Company, Ltd. China 2
Cuanta, SA Moldova 2
Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group Iran 2
Hans Raj Shiv* India 2
Mikhail Pavlovich Vladov* Moldova 2
Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant, aka Chemet Global Ltd. China 2
China Metallurgical Equipment Corp. China 1
China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation China 1
China National Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Company China 1
Computer & Communications SRL Moldova 1
Khan Research Laboratories Pakistan 1
Liyang Chemical Equipment China 1
Liyang Yunlong China 1
Liyang Yunlong Chemical Equipment Group Company China 1
Lizen Open Joint Stock Company Armenia 1
National Development Complex Pakistan 1
NEC Engineers Private, Ltd. India 1
Protech Consultants Private, Ltd. India 1
Armen Sargsian* Armenia 1
Taian Foreign Trade General Corp. China 1
Total Number of Sanctions   61

* Individuals personally sanctioned

Sources For Tables 1 and 2: Federal Register and conversations with State Department officials

 

In a radical departure from its predecessor’s practice, the Bush administration has been gung-ho about imposing proliferation sanctions...

IAEA to Discuss Advances in Iran's Nuclear Program

Paul Kerr

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors will hold a crucial meeting on Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities this month to address concerns that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The meeting comes after the agency released an August 26 report saying that “there remain a number of important outstanding issues” about Tehran’s nuclear program that require “urgent resolution.”

That report was the latest in a series of warnings by the IAEA about Tehran’s nuclear activities. Prompted by the United States and other countries, a June IAEA Board of Governors statement called on Iran to resolve concerns created by the government’s failure to report nuclear activities “as required by its safeguards obligations.” The statement specifically called on Tehran to sign an additional protocol to its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and allow the agency to conduct environmental sampling at the Kala Electric Company—a site where Iran might have carried out illegal uranium-enrichment activities. Safeguards agreements are required under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which Iran ratified in 1970, to ensure that member states do not divert civilian nuclear programs to military purposes.

The Board’s statement came just after the IAEA issued a report June 6 about Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities. Agency experts have visited Iran several times during the past two months to verify information Iran subsequently provided about these activities.

The United States has long expressed concern that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program—a charge Iran has repeatedly denied. A State Department official interviewed August 28 said that the most recent report provides “further incriminating evidence” of Iran’s violations of its safeguards agreement, adding that the IAEA needs to continue to pursue these matters.

Iran Considers Additional Protocol

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei visited Iran July 9 to urge Tehran to conclude an additional protocol, and a group of IAEA experts followed up on his visit on August 5-6 for further discussions about the matter. Since 1997, the IAEA has encouraged NPT member states to sign an additional protocol, which allows the IAEA to conduct more rigorous inspections, including visits to facilities that countries have not declared to the IAEA, in order to check for clandestine nuclear programs.

Although Iran has not yet agreed to sign it, Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said that “Iran views the additional…protocol positively” and will continue discussions with the IAEA, according to an August 13 Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report. The discussions are for clarifying details about the protocol, he said. Iran told the agency that Iran is “prepared to begin negotiation with the [IAEA] on the Additional Protocol,” according to the August 26 report.

Iran might have softened its stance on the issue of an additional protocol. Although a June IRNA report stated that Iran was conditioning its signing of the protocol on Western countries lifting restrictions on supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Aghazadeh said August 13 that “conditions are not important.” He implied, however, that Iran still wants access to nuclear technology, suggesting that the policy has not changed substantially. Article IV of the NPT says that states-parties “have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” The United States has laws against exporting dual-use goods and technology to Iran, and Washington has urged Russia to end its assistance for a nuclear program in Iran that Tehran and Moscow claim is for civilian purposes. (See ACT, January/February 2003.)

Secretary of State Colin Powell said August 1 that Iran signing the Additional Protocol wouldn’t be sufficient to satisfy Washington’s concerns about that country’s nuclear programs.

 

 




 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors will hold a crucial meeting on Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities this month to address concerns that Iran is...

House Slashes Nuclear Weapons Budget Request

Christine Kucia

Citing a “Flawed budget process,” the House of Representatives July 18 overwhelmingly approved a fiscal year 2004 appropriations bill that slashes President George W. Bush’s request for funds needed to conduct earth-penetrating nuclear weapons research, build a new plutonium pit- manufacturing facility, and shorten the potential time frame for conducting a nuclear test to 18 months.

The 377-26 vote on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill reflected a stinging challenge to the president’s proposed spending level of $8.8 billion to fund Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons programs. Representative David Hobson (R-Ohio), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, led the attack on the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) budget.

In a July 8 statement, Hobson said, “Based on the President’s decision to reduce our nuclear stockpile, I thought we were trying to consolidate the nuclear weapons complex around the country—not expand it.” Under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) signed in May 2002 by Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the United States and Russia each agreed to reduce their operational nuclear arsenals and deploy only 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012. Citing the need for a “serious debate” about the national security requirements for the nuclear weapons program, the Appropriations Committee concurred that it “will not assume that all of the proposed nuclear weapons requests are legitimate requirements,” according to the July 15 panel report.

The overall Weapons Activities budget was cut by $260.4 million—for a total budget of $6.1 billion, and the full committee report cited concerns that the nuclear weapons stockpile plan has not been modified to incorporate anticipated changes as a result of SORT. Hobson pointedly noted that, although House appropriators requested a plan for the nuclear weapons stockpile reflecting the reductions outlined in SORT, which entered into force June 1, 2003, “we are still waiting for that plan,” which House appropriators first requested in September 2002.

Directed Stockpile Work was cut by only $21 million, but the committee juggled funds considerably to meet stockpile maintenance needs while forcing NNSA to re-evaluate several programs. The committee cut $15 million from programs to study potential earth-penetrating nuclear weapons capabilities and to fund additional research on advanced nuclear weapons concepts. “The committee is concerned the NNSA is being tasked to start new activities…before the Administration has articulated the specific requirements to support the President’s announced stockpile modifications,” the report stated.

Significant decreases in funding were also levied against other nuclear weapons programs. The committee cut $12 million for a new plutonium pit-manufacturing facility, questioning whether the existing production capability at Los Alamos National Laboratory would fulfill U.S. stockpile needs. Planning for the facility is in the early stages.

The committee also rebuffed efforts to shorten the time needed to resume full nuclear tests to 18 months, cutting the entire $24.8 million request from NNSA for that purpose. The House report indicates that the current 24-36-month readiness posture “has not been successfully maintained” and appropriators fail “to see how the NNSA’s enhanced test readiness proposal puts in place a program that precludes a similar state of disarray ten years into the future.”

In addition, the committee slammed NNSA’s management of stockpile maintenance programs, stating that the agency is “struggling to successfully demonstrate its core mission of maintaining the existing stockpile through the Stockpile Stewardship Program.” A July General Accounting Office report profiled problems with the Stockpile Life Extension Program, including NNSA’s failure to report the full cost of refurbishments in compliance with U.S. government standards; insufficient planning and organization, resulting in field contractors making independent budgetary decisions; and inadequate means of comparing the program’s progress against established baselines.

NNSA spokesman Bryan Wilkes rebuffed the House’s critique August 20, saying, “We’re not ‘struggling’ to demonstrate anything,” adding that the cuts “were not based on correct information.” NNSA officials remain confident that the requested budget will prevail during House-Senate conference committee deliberations.

Meanwhile, Senate appropriators passed the NNSA’s weapons and directed stockpile budget requests July 17 with only minor changes. The full Senate will deliberate the appropriations bill after the August recess.

 

Nonproliferation Programs Cut

In addition to cutting administration requests for certain nuclear programs, the House of Representatives made several notable changes to fiscal year 2004 funding for programs focused on reducing the threat posed by nuclear problems in Russia.

Claiming that the way the Department of Energy (DOE) administers nuclear nonproliferation programs with Russia “leads to excessive costs for administration and less funding going to Russia,” the House limited money spent in the United States on such programs to 35 percent of the DOE nonproliferation funds for Russia. The House also refused to expand a program to bolster the safety of nuclear reactors to countries other than Russia. In addition, the House slashed nearly all the funds required to help accelerate the disposal of excess highly enriched uranium in Russia, saying that previously allocated funds had not yet been spent. Still, the House provided $28 million to continue the Megaports program—first initiated in the fiscal year 2003 wartime supplemental appropriations bill—to screen the world’s busiest seaports for radioactive material prior to shipping cargo to U.S. ports.

Meanwhile, the Senate committee allocated $20 million for a nuclear and radiological national security program and $20 million to help remove nuclear weapons-grade materials at risk of theft from sites worldwide. The Senate also shifted an additional $10 million to the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention program, which helps out-of-work nuclear weapons workers to prevent them from offering their expertise to other countries.


Prgram
Budget Request
House Allocation
Difference
Weapons Activities
$6.38 billion
$6.12 billion
-$260 million
Directed Stockpile Work (Supports maintenance, R&D, engineering and certification programs for nuclear stockpile)
$1.36 billion
$1.34 billion
- $21 million
Campaigns (Provides specialized scientific and technical support for stockpile work)
$2.40 billion
$2.27 billion
- $127 million
Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities (Supports physical/operational infrastructures at nuclear plants and laboratories)
$1.61 billion
$1.51 billion
- $102 million
Defense nuclear
nonproliferation
$1.34 billion
$1.28 Billion
- $60 million
Nonproliferation and International Security (Funds security for weapons of mass destruction materials)
$102 million
$106 million
+ $4 million
International Materials Protection, Control, and Cooperation (Helps Russia secure nuclear weapons and weapons-grade fissile material)
$226 million
$255 million
+ $29 million
Accelarated Materials Disposition (Accelerates Russia’s disposal of highly enriched uranium)
$30 million
$5 million
- $25 million
Total for National Nuclear Security
Administration
$8.83 billion
$8.51 billion
- $326 million

Source: 2004 House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee Report

 

Citing a “Flawed budget process,” the House of Representatives July 18 overwhelmingly approved a fiscal year 2004 appropriations bill that slashes President George W. Bush's...

Countries Meet to Discuss N. Korean Nuclear Stand-off

Paul Kerr

The United States and North Korea participated in multilateral talks August 27-29 in Beijing to discuss issues surrounding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The discussions, which also included China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan, marked the first time the two countries have met officially since April, when they participated in trilateral talks with China in Beijing.

The talks did not appear to achieve any significant breakthroughs. Although participants in the talks appeared optimistic that there would be another round of talks, North Korea cast some doubt on this shortly after the meetings ended. One of the chief reasons behind the impasse is a fundamental difference over timing: the United States insists that North Korea dismantle its nuclear arsenal before discussing security guarantees to Pyongyang or other issues; Pyongyang demands that the United States sign a nonaggression pact and take other steps before it eliminates its nuclear facilities.

Nonetheless, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in an August 29 press conference that the participants now “share a consensus” on several items: a “peaceful settlement” of the crisis through dialogue, the need to address North Korea’s security concerns, the continuation of dialogue and the six-party talks, the need to avoid actions that would escalate the situation, and a plan to solve the nuclear issue “through synchronous and parallel implementation.”

State Department spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said August 29 that Washington is “pleased” at the participants’ endorsement of the multilateral process, according to Agence France-Presse.

Despite positive comments from China and the United States, however, an August 30 statement from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) expressed Pyongyang’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. position at the recent talks, adding that Pyongyang has no “interest or expectation for the talks as they are not beneficial” to North Korea. The U.S. delegation reiterated its demand that North Korea dismantle its nuclear weapons program before addressing other North Korean concerns, according to the statement.

Wang Yi appeared to confirm that the United States had taken a hard-line stance during the talks, telling reporters September 1 that the U.S. policy is “the main problem” in achieving diplomatic progress.

Press reports indicated that the North Korean delegates threatened to test nuclear weapons, but the nature of their statement is unclear. According to an August 29 KCNA statement, North Korea told the other parties that it would not “dismantle its nuclear deterrent force” and “will have no option but to increase it” if the United States does not react positively to its proposal. Hatsuhisa Takashima, press secretary for Japan’s Foreign Ministry, said August 29 that North Korea referenced nuclear weapons but said he would not characterize the delegation’s statement as a threat.

Prokopowicz said August 29, however, that the North Korean statement at the talks was “an explicit acknowledgement” that North Korea “has nuclear weapons, but the United States will not respond to threats.” U.S. officials have said that North Korea made a veiled reference to nuclear testing during the April talks.


Attempting to Defuse a Crisis


U.S. officials had warned that the talks were the beginning of a process and not likely to yield quick results. It appeared that Washington was taking a somewhat harder line going into the talks than its allies.

A State Department official interviewed August 26 said the U.S. delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, was to “comment” on a North Korean proposal put forward during the April talks. That proposal, according to a South Korean official, offered to eliminate Pyongyang’s two nuclear programs and halt its missile exports in exchange for energy assistance, the completion of nuclear reactors promised under a 1994 accord called the Agreed Framework, normalization of bilateral relations, and an “assurance of non-aggression.”

The April talks in Beijing were an effort to defuse the most recent nuclear weapons crisis with Pyongyang, which began last October when U.S. officials announced that their North Korean counterparts had admitted to a clandestine uranium-enrichment program in violation of several arms control agreements. In the series of tit-for-tat actions and statements that followed the October meetings, North Korea responded to U.S. pressure with several steps: ejecting UN inspectors charged with monitoring the plutonium-based nuclear facilities frozen under the Agreed Framework, withdrawing from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in January, and restarting its nuclear reactor.

Still, the exact status of North Korea’s nuclear program as the August talks began was unclear. U.S. officials said that North Korea told the United States during the April talks that it possesses nuclear weapons, threatened to transfer them to other countries, and referred to testing. Moreover, North Korean officials at the United Nations told the United States that North Korea has completed reprocessing the 8,000 spent fuel rods from its previously frozen plutonium reactor, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said July 15. Washington, however, cannot confirm these claims, Boucher added. During the April talks, North Korea claimed to have reprocessed the fuel rods, Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress April 30.

Powell has said that reprocessing the fuel rods could yield enough plutonium for as many as six nuclear devices. But even if North Korea has extracted fissile material, it is unclear whether the country has used it to construct any nuclear weapons.

In addition, North Korea further muddied the waters August 29 when for the first time KCNA ran an explicit denial from Pyongyang to the U.S. charges that it had a uranium-enrichment program.

Bush said in a May joint statement with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun that the two countries “will not tolerate” a North Korean nuclear weapon, but U.S. officials have not specified what the United States would do if North Korea produces such weapons anyway.

China Finds a Compromise


The talks came about after intense diplomatic efforts by China to find a workable format—an issue that has been a major impediment to their taking place. Before the April talks, Washington insisted on a multilateral setting while Pyongyang insisted on meeting only bilaterally. Washington says it has insisted on multilateral talks because they will place the maximum amount of pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear program. North Korea has explained that bilateral commitments from the United States are the only way it can be sure that the United States will not threaten its security. (See ACT, May 2003.)

The April trilateral talks represented a compromise between these two positions. Afterward, the United States said it was willing to meet again but that it preferred multilateral talks expanded to include Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang responded that it would participate in such a format but wanted to first hold a bilateral meeting with Washington.

Aspects of the latest talks also represented a compromise. State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker stated August 27 that members of the U.S. and North Korean delegations met bilaterally on the sidelines during the first day of the Beijing talks. South Korean Foreign Ministry official Wie Sing-rak said that the U.S. officials “made comments about easing North Korea’s security concerns,” but he did not elaborate, according to an August 27 Associated Press article.

John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said during a July 31 speech that, in addition to multilateral diplomacy, Washington is pursuing two other tracks to counter the North Korean threat. The first is the Proliferation Security Initiative—a broad effort to prevent proliferation by persuading other countries to interdict the transfer of weapons of mass destruction and related technologies. Bolton described the initiative as a vehicle for pressuring the North Korean regime, but countries involved in the initiative are still discussing its specifics, and they have not yet made final decisions regarding interdictions. Boucher said August 18 that the United States is scheduled to participate in interdiction exercises in Australia sometime in September.

Bolton also mentioned the U.S. effort to persuade the UN Security Council to adopt a statement condemning North Korea’s actions. Washington, however, has been unable to overcome Beijing’s opposition to such a measure. Bolton said August 1 that the United States would delay going to the United Nations if multilateral talks make progress.

U.S., North Korea Stake Out Positions

According to the August 29 KCNA statement, North Korea made a proposal at the talks, similar to that made at the April discussions, for settling the nuclear issue. North Korea insisted that the United States end its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang by concluding a “non-aggression treaty,” normalizing bilateral diplomatic relations, refraining from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, completing the reactors promised under the Agreed Framework, resuming suspended fuel oil shipments, and increasing food aid.

North Korea has repeatedly cited Washington’s “hostile policy” as the justification for its nuclear program, expressing fear that the United States intends to attack it in the same manner that U.S.-led coalition forces attacked Iraq in March. It has also cited the U.S. policy of pre-emptively attacking states developing weapons of mass destruction—as described in the Bush administration’s September 2002 National Security Strategy.

The planned U.S. response going into the talks was somewhat difficult to discern. But U.S. officials appeared to expect Pyongyang to take the first step. A senior administration official in an August 22 briefing characterized the talks as the “beginning of a process” and added that the U.S. delegation would “urge” North Korea to comply with Washington’s oft-repeated demand that North Korea “commit to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible ending of its nuclear arms program.”

Whether the United States would offer North Korea incentives to comply was uncertain. In his July speech, Bolton condemned the idea of negotiating with Pyongyang, saying that “giving into [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-il’s extortionist demands would only encourage him and…other would-be tyrants around the world.” Washington has repeatedly ruled out offering North Korea quid pro quos for an end to its nuclear program, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has dismissed North Korea’s April proposal as “blackmail.”

A senior Bush administration official said August 22, however, that North Korea’s compliance “could open the door to a very new kind of relationship” with the United States and other countries. This is an apparent reference to the administration’s previously proposed “bold approach,” which involves “economic and political steps” to help North Korea. The administration has repeatedly said that Pyongyang’s elimination of its nuclear program is necessary—although not necessarily sufficient—to reap the rewards of this policy, but the senior official indicated that he was not going to the talks “with some package of rewards in anticipations of progress.” Powell said August 1 that the administration would not “trade” economic incentives at the meeting for North Korean compliance.

Indeed, the administration has also insisted that issues such as human rights, missiles, and conventional forces be addressed before Washington would provide aid to North Korea. The senior official said August 22 that the talks were to be “primarily focused” on North Korea’s nuclear program, but some of these other issues could be discussed.

Washington did, however, indicate some flexibility. Powell said August 1 that the multilateral talks could provide some form of written security assurance to North Korea, although he ruled out a nonaggression treaty. In addition, the senior official said that the United States would not necessarily oppose other countries offering incentives to North Korea. Some of the other participants have indicated their intentions to so.

The agreement to solve the nuclear issue through “synchronous and parallel implementation” is perhaps another indication of U.S. flexibility on it previous position that North Korea had to dismantle its nuclear program before the United States would undertake actions of its own.

The two sides appeared to be far apart on two issues in particular. First, an August 20 KCNA statement emphasized that Washington and Pyongyang should take “simultaneous actions” to arrive at a solution, but Washington did not indicate that it planned to do so. For example, the senior administration official said August 22 that normalization of diplomatic relations was something that could occur “in the future, as progress is developed.” North Korea also has a sequence of steps it insists on following. For example, an August 20 KCNA statement said North Korea has insisted the United States must meet its demands before it could allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The second bone of contention is a nonaggression treaty. Although the United States said that it could provide North Korea with written security assurances that have less formal congressional backing, North Korea insisted on a treaty as a guarantee that the United States had reversed its “hostile policy.”

Administration officials have repeatedly said that the United States has no intention of attacking North Korea, and several joint statements, including the Agreed Framework, explicitly state this policy. North Korea, however, argues that the U.S. National Security Strategy—which explicitly mentions North Korea—and the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review indicate that the administration is preparing to attack it. A leaked version of the Bush administration’s January 2002 classified Nuclear Posture Review lists North Korea as a country against which the United States should be prepared to use nuclear weapons.

U.S. officials have offered conflicting statements in the last three months. In June, the administration emphasized pressuring North Korea by persuading other governments to interdict shipments of items such as weapons components and illegal drugs, which are sources of hard currency for North Korea. (See ACT, July/August 2003.) Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued in May that the Pyongyang regime was “teetering on the edge of economic collapse” and that this weakness was a “point of leverage” for the United States and its allies.

Powell said August 1, however, that he has no reason to believe that the regime is in danger of “imminent collapse” and that he plans to work with Pyongyang. He also acknowledged that North Korea’s neighbors do not support a policy of causing the regime’s collapse.

 

The United States and North Korea participated in multilateral talks August 27-29 in Beijing to discuss issues surrounding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. 

Missile Defense Booster Flies

Wade Boese

With the target date for deploying the initial elements of a strategic ground-based missile defense system about one year away, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted on August 16 the first flight test of a prototype booster that is meant to play a key role in the system. MDA and the booster’s manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation, declared the test a success.

The three-stage booster, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, traveled approximately 5,300 kilometers and reached a peak altitude of nearly 1,900 kilometers. No intercept was attempted as part of the test, which was limited to checking whether the booster would work properly and hold its course.

The booster’s role in the planned system is to lift an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) into space. After the booster’s third stage burns out, the EKV is supposed to separate from the booster, home in on an enemy warhead, and collide with the target in a powerful collision.

Development of the booster is far behind schedule. The Pentagon initially aimed to have the prototype booster take part in intercept testing in early 2001. But production delays and a December 2001 booster flight test failure forced MDA to conduct all eight of the system’s intercept tests—five of which have succeeded—with a less powerful, two-stage booster.

Testing with a three-stage booster is seen as critical for the system because the two-stage booster is too slow to carry out intercepts at speeds expected in a real attack. Yet, an independent review group, known as the Welch Panel, questioned in 1999 whether the EKV would be able to withstand the greater shock loads from a more powerful, three-stage booster.

The Orbital Sciences Corporation booster, an upgraded version of a rocket that the company flight-tested in February, is one of two models being evaluated for potential use in the missile defense system. The other booster is being built by Lockheed Martin, which took over work on it from Boeing following the December 2001 test failure. Lockheed Martin’s booster is set for its first flight test in September or October 2003.

If the Lockheed Martin booster succeeds in its upcoming test, it will join the Orbital Sciences Corporation booster in having one more non-intercept flight test this fall. MDA is planning to conduct two intercept tests in 2004 before the missile defense system’s October 1 deployment goal, but which boosters will be used remains undetermined.





 

With the target date for deploying the initial elements of a strategic ground-based missile defense system about one year away, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA)...

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