China can strike anywhere in US: CIA : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday 24 March 2000 China can strike anywhere in US: CIA WASHINGTON: Not only Russia but China too can now strike anywhere in the US, CIA director George Tenet has told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Earlier, a Chinese arsenal of 20 nuclear warheads atop inter-continental ballistic warheads was considered a danger only to parts of the mainland, like the West Coast.

Tenet told the Committee at a hearing Wednesday that both Russia and China had capabilities to strike at military and other targets throughout the US. ``To a large degree,'' he said reassuringly, ``we expect our mutual deterrent and diplomacy to help protect US from this, as they have for much of the last century.''

``Over the next 15 years, US cities will face ballistic missile threats from a wide variety of actors --North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq,'' he said. ``In some cases, this is because of indigenous technological development, and in others, because of direct foreign assistance,'' Tenet said.

While the missile arsenals of these countries will be fewer in number, constrained to smaller payloads, and less reliable than those of the Russians and Chinese, they will still pose a lethal and less-predictable threat, he said.

``As alarming as the long-range missile threat is it should not overshadow the immediacy and seriousness of the threat that US forces, interests and allies already face from short and medium-range missiles'' Tenet said.

Tenet said that while Russia, China and North Korea continued to be the main suppliers of ballistic missiles and related technology, longstanding recipients, such as Iran, might become suppliers in their own right as they developed domestic production capabilities.

Other countries that today import missile-related technology, such as Syria and Iraq, may also emerge in the next 10 years as suppliers, the CIA director said.

Iran in the next few years may be able to supply not only complete Scuds but also Shahab-3's and related technologies if Teheran continues to receive assistance from Russia, China and North Korea, Tenet said.

Tenet also said he reported to the Clinton administration the delivery of Chinese M-11 missiles to Pakistan several years ago but the government chose not to admit it publicly for political reasons.

During the hearing, Senator Kerry of the Committee said, ``When China, with the M-11, was engaged in its transfer (to Pakistan) and we knew pretty well that it was, we didn't really do anything.''

``Indeed, in that case our job was to detect the transfer of those M-11's back in the early 1990s, and we did that and reported it. Then it becomes a matter of how you (the administration which has to certify the transfer) pursue a policy toward China,'' Tenet replied.

He said there had been a robust counter-proliferation dialogue with China over the years as a result of which there had been some improvement in China's proliferation behaviour.

``The Chinese do proliferate,'' Tenet said, ``though supplying only components of missile systems. They no longer, to the degree we can detect it, proliferate whole missile systems, turn key operations, as they once did. So the picture in China is mixed.'' (PTI)

-- Martin Thompson (, March 23, 2000

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