Tuesday 24 November 2009

PRC Missile and Space Forces

PRC Missile and Space Forces
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The deployment of the PRC's new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine could also lead to a shift in PRC doctrine, as these submarines will likely be deployed with their nuclear warheads already mated to the missiles. The long range of the JL-2 submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile will allow the PRC to conduct patrols close to its base, and under the protective cover of the PLA Navy and Air Force. This would provide the PLA submarine fleet with a more survivable nuclear force.

The fact that these new nuclear weapons will be far more survivable than the PRC's current silo-based forces could signal a major shift in the PRC's current nuclear strategy and doctrine.

The PRC might allow the first use of nuclear weapons on its own territory, which the PRC views as including Taiwan.

The PRC has tested an enhanced radiation weapon (neutron bomb) that minimizes blast effects, while maximizing human casualties. The PRC probably originally developed the neutron bomb for use on its own territory against invading Soviet forces. Similarly, the neutron bomb would be useful in a conflict with Taiwan, since the PRC undoubtedly would intend to occupy the territory it was attacking. The PRC may have plans to deploy neutron bombs.

These enhancements to the PRC's nuclear forces, together with its expanding economic capabilities, present the PRC with additional options for changes in its strategic doctrine. The PRC's growing economy, for instance, could allow it to produce and deploy more missiles than earlier planned. Additionally, the Select Committee judges that if the PRC made a decision to do so, it could build multiple warheads for its ballistic missiles.

Moreover, the PRC's concerns about the vulnerability of its nuclear weapons could lead the PRC to develop an early warning system in order to support a launch-on-warning posture.

The secretive nature of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission, as well as the PLA's other decision-making bodies, means that changes in PRC nuclear force doctrine may not be apparent.

Clearly, the PRC views its conventional ballistic missile forces as potential weapons for use during regional conflicts. This strategy was implied by the PRC in the course of its CSS-6 short-range ballistic missile exercises during the March 1996 presidential elections in Taiwan. During the exercise, the PRC launched four CSS-6 ballistic missiles towards points north and south of Taiwan's major ports.

The PRC's Opposition to U.S. Missile Defenses

Statements by PRC Government officials make it clear that the PRC is opposed to the development of either theater or national missile defense systems that could counter Beijing's nuclear forces.

If the PRC were intent upon overwhelming these defenses, there are several options it could take in an attempt to preserve the offensive capability of its missile forces.

One of the PRC's responses could be to expand the size of its ballistic missile force, to increase the chances that some of its nuclear weapons overcome a nation's defenses. This would be an expensive option requiring the PRC to invest in the production of significant additional missiles and infrastructure.

A cheaper response to U.S. missile defenses for the PRC could be the development of penetration aids (PENAIDS) for its ballistic missiles. These PENAIDS could include:

* Decoys that create multiple radar targets, which must be tracked until discrimination of the actual nuclear warhead can be accomplished. Simple decoys are effective during exoatmospheric flight of the nuclear warhead, but burn up during reentry into the atmosphere.
* Chaff consisting of aluminum strips that are designed to reflect radar beams, thereby confusing a radar as to the location of the PLA warhead.
* Jammers used to jam the radar system during the flight of the PLA nuclear warhead.
* Radar absorbing materials, which can also be used to reduce the radar cross section of the PLA nuclear warhead.
* The PLA nuclear warhead itself could be reoriented to present the lowest radar cross section.31

The PRC is expected to pursue one or more PENAIDs in connection with its new nuclear missiles.

Given the PRC's aggressive opposition to missile defenses, the Select Committee judges that the PRC is collecting information about U.S. missile defense systems in order to help its development of PENAIDS.

Another option for countering U.S. missile defenses would be the development of a maneuvering reentry vehicle (MARV). The maneuvering capability could be used to complicate hit-to-kill or conventional warhead ballistic missile defense systems.

The PRC could also develop multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) or multiple reentry vehicle (MRV) platforms. This would effectively increase the size of the PLA's nuclear force without the full expense required to deploy additional missiles. The PRC's theft from the United States of design information for the W-88 miniaturized nuclear warhead makes it possible that existing or future PLA missiles, which might have been too small in diameter to carry multiple warheads, could now do so.

Furthermore, existing PLA missiles, including the CSS-4 Mod 2, could be capable of carrying the new, smaller warheads in a MIRV or MRV configuration. Within a short period of time after a decision to proceed, the PRC has the ability to deploy missiles with multiple reentry vehicles (MIRVs or MRVs). The PRC has demonstrated similar concepts and technologies in the Smart Dispenser that it developed to place multiple Iridium satellites into orbit. The Select Committee did not, however, review sufficient evidence to permit a judgment whether the PRC will in the future decide to deploy a MIRV or MRV system.

The Iridium Smart Dispenser Controversy

In May 1998, allegations were made that Motorola had provided the PRC with technology that would allow it to build a multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) missile-dispensing platform. The allegations were that the Smart Dispenser used by the PRC to place two Iridium communications satellites into orbit would provide the PRC with technology that would be directly applicable to MIRV dispensing.32

The Smart Dispenser is an on-orbit maneuvering stage with its own independent guidance system. The Select Committee has determined that Motorola did not provide the PRC with information on how to design the Smart Dispenser; rather, the PRC built the Smart Dispenser indigenously to Motorola's specifications. However, the Select Committee's independent technical expert noted that the PRC has demonstrated all of the techniques that are required for developing a MIRV bus, and that the PRC could develop a MIRV dispensing platform within a short period of time after making a decision to proceed.

The PRC's Acquisition of Foreign Ballistic Missile Technology

The PRC constantly searches for technology for its ballistic missile programs. Any technology or know-how that the PRC can acquire from foreign sources will save the PRC time and money in the development of its future weapons systems.

The prospect of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons cooperation between Russia and the PRC would be especially troubling because of the advanced technical capabilities of the Russian strategic nuclear forces. Thus far, Russia has been the only nation to deploy a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile force. These missiles include the road-mobile solid-propellant SS-25 ICBM and the rail-mobile SS-24 ICBM. Any cooperation in the area of solid-propellant mobile missiles would clearly benefit the PRC's new road-mobile ICBM programs.

Additionally, the Russians have advanced guidance and control capabilities. Assistance in the guidance and control field could help the PRC improve the accuracy of its current and future missile forces.

Furthermore, the Russians have the ability to mass-produce large, solid-propellant missiles. The manufacturing capabilities for these missiles could help the PRC produce large numbers of its next generation ICBMs. Russia's use of advanced solid-propellant materials could benefit the PRC's ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile programs, allowing them to build lightweight, longer-range ballistic missiles.

The Russian designer of the SS-X-27 has claimed that the missile's advanced penetration capabilities will allow it to defeat any nation's ballistic missile defenses.33 While the validity of such a statement cannot be judged against a U.S. national missile defense system that is not yet deployed, or even finally designed, Russia's provision of these presumably advanced penetration technologies to the PRC could assist PRC efforts to counter a U.S. national missile defense system.

While the Select Committee has no evidence that the Russians or any other nation of the former Soviet Union have provided the PRC with complete ballistic missiles or missile subsystems, there have been reported instances of the PRC approaching Russia and Ukraine about acquiring SS-18 and SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Reportedly, the PRC was turned down.34

The PRC's Indigenous Ballistic Missile Design Capabilities

The PRC is judged to have a fairly sophisticated capability to design ballistic missiles and rockets. This assessment is based on the fact that the PRC is able to develop missiles and rockets that are capable of delivering large payloads to their intended destination with reasonable accuracy and reliability. However, these design capabilities are not in all cases as sophisticated as those of Western nations.

The Select Committee's independent technical expert noted that while PRC scientists and engineers may have a textbook understanding of problems, there is a difference between a textbook understanding and the application of this knowledge to specific problems. Interactions with U.S. and foreign scientists and engineers, therefor, could assist the PRC engineers and scientists in overcoming these limitations.

PRC Missile Proliferation

The PRC is one of the world's leading proliferators of complete ballistic missile systems, as well as missile components.

Despite the fact that, in 1991, the PRC agreed to adhere to the April 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines that call for restraint on the sale of missiles capable of delivering a 225-pound payload to 185 miles, the PRC has sold complete ballistic missile systems or missile components to a number of countries, including but not limited to Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.35

In 1993, the MTCR States issued new expanded guidelines that called for a "strong presumption to deny" both sales of complete missile systems and sales of components that could be used in ballistic missile systems. Furthermore, the new guidelines call for restrictions on transfers of missiles that can deliver a weapons of mass destruction payload to 185 miles.36 However, the PRC has accepted neither these revised guidelines, nor the annex on the transfer of components and other commodities such as propellants and test equipment.37

Notwithstanding the PRC's purported adherence to the MTCR Category I restrictions, the PRC has provided, or is providing, assistance to the missile and space programs of Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. The PRC also continues to offer Category II missile components for sale to international customers. In addition, the PRC has provided assistance to the nuclear programs of Iran and Pakistan.


During the 1990s, the PRC sold Iran significant numbers of 90-mile range CSS-8 ballistic missiles, along with associated support equipment. In addition, PRC companies provided Iran with ballistic missile production technology. The PRC also reportedly sold Iran guidance components,38 and more recently telemetry equipment, for ballistic missiles.39 The PRC reportedly is currently providing Iran with solid-propellant missile technology.40 During the 1980s and 1990s, the PRC has transferred C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran.41 The PRC has also provided assistance to Iran's nuclear weapons programs.42


The PRC has provided Pakistan with a wide range of weapons assistance. The PRC has reportedly supplied Pakistan with CSS-X-7 (or M-11) ballistic missiles, mobile missile launchers, and the facilities necessary to produce M-11 missiles. The PRC has also provided Pakistan with assistance on uranium enrichment, ring magnets, and other technologies useful for Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.43

Saudi Arabia

The PRC provided complete CSS-2 missiles to Saudi Arabia in 1987. The conventionally armed missile has a range of 1,500 to 1,800 miles.

PRC Missile and Space Forces 2

PRC Missile and Space Forces
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The PRC first attempted a flight test of the CSS-4 in the 1970s. Following several flight test failures, the PRC continued its development of the CSS-4 through its development of the Long March 2 rocket. Of the next nine Long March 2 launches from 1973 through 1978, five were successful.

The CSS-4 uses nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) as the oxidizer and a lightweight, aluminum-copper alloy airframe. It is equipped with four YF-20 engines in its first stage, and a single YF-20 engine in its second stage. Unlike previous PRC missiles that use jet vanes in the exhaust for steering control, the CSS-4 uses steerable exhaust nozzles for control. It has been reported to the Select Committee that the CSS-4 uses a gimbaled guidance system for control.22

Starting in 1981, the PRC began deploying CSS-4 missiles in silos. Only two operational missiles were deployed in the 1980s, on what the PRC called "trial operational deployments."

During the 1990s, the PRC has deployed a total of approximately 20 CSS-4 ICBMs in silos, most of which are targeted on the United States. The Select Committee judges that despite the 1998 announcement that the PRC and the U.S. would no longer target each other with nuclear weapons, the PRC's missiles remain targeted at the United States.

Today, the CSS-4 has a range in excess of 7,400 miles. The PRC has begun deploying an improved version of the CSS-4, known as the CSS-4 Mod 2.23 The Mod 2 has improved range capabilities over the CSS-4. The additional range may provide the PRC with greater confidence that the missile will reach long distance targets such as Washington, D.C., although this and other U.S. cities are already within the range of the CSS-4 (see table on previous page).

This improved range may also translate into an improved throw-weight that could allow the PRC to deploy multiple warheads on the CSS-4 Mod 2, rather than the single warheads that are currently carried on the CSS-4.

The PLA's Future "East Wind" Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Missiles in silos are vulnerable to attack because their precise location can be known in advance. Concerns about the survivability of its silo-based CSS-4 ballistic missile forces have led the PLA to begin a modernization program that includes the development of road-mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missiles.

The use of a solid-propellant missile in place of the liquid-fueled CSS-4 will permit the PRC to launch its missiles with shorter notice. That is because the liquid fuel for the current CSS-4 must be stored separately from the missile until launch. Then, prior to launch, the CSS-4 missile must be fueled.

Substitution of a mobile missile for the silo-based CSS-4 will make it possible to hide the missile's location, thus protecting it from attack.

The PLA is currently developing two road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile systems. It also has under development a submarine-launched ballistic missile. The Select Committee judges that within 15 years, this modernization program could result in the deployment of a PLA intercontinental ballistic missile force consisting of up to 100 ICBMs.

The PRC's planned new mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, and its planned new submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, require smaller warheads than the large, heavy, 1950s-era warheads developed for the PRC's current silo-based missiles. Because U.S. thermonuclear warheads are significantly smaller, they are capable of use on mobile missiles and submarine-launched missiles. The Select Committee judges that the PRC will exploit elements of the stolen U.S. thermonuclear design information on these new ICBMs.

If any of the PRC's planned missiles were to carry multiple warheads, or if the CSS-4 were modified to carry multiple warheads, then a fairing (that is, a covering for the missiles in the nosecone) could be required. See the chapter entitled Satellite Launches in the PRC: Hughes for a discussion of the PRC's acquisition of fairing technology from the United States.

The aggressive development of a MIRV system by the PRC could permit the deployment of upwards of 1,000 thermonuclear warheads on ICBMs by 2015. See the chapter entitled PRC Theft of Nuclear Warhead Design Information for information on the PRC's development of nuclear warheads that may exploit elements of U.S. thermonuclear weapons design information.

The first of the three new intercontinental ballistic missiles that are being developed by the PRC is the DF-31 (or East Wind 31). It is estimated that the DF-31 will be a three-stage, mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missile. It will be deployed on a mobile erector-launcher.

The DF-31's 5,000-mile range will allow it to hit all of Hawaii and Alaska and parts of the state of Washington, but not other parts of the continental United States.24 Due to its limited intercontinental range, the DF-31 is most likely intended as the replacement for the PRC's aging CSS-3 force, rather than for the longer range CSS-4 ICBM.

The DF-31 missile may be tested this year. Given a successful flight program, the DF-31 could be ready for deployment as early as 2002.

The collapse of the Soviet Union has changed the PRC's strategic outlook, prompting the development of extended range missiles. To this end, the PRC is planning an even longer-range, mobile ICBM to add to its already deployed CSS-4 missiles. This new missile is believed to have a range of more than 7,500 miles, allowing the PRC to target almost all of the United States. These missiles can be deployed anywhere within the PRC, making them significantly more survivable.

The JL-2 (Julang 2, or Great Wave 2) is a submarine-launched version of the DF-31. It is believed to have an even longer range, and will be carried on the PLA Navy's Type 094-class submarine. Sixteen JL-2 missiles will be carried on each submarine.25

The JL-2's 7,500 mile range will allow it to be launched from the PRC's territorial waters and to strike targets throughout the United States.26

This range would allow a significant change in the operation and tactics of the PRC's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Instead of venturing into the open ocean to attack the United States, the Type 094-class submarines could remain near PRC waters, protected by the PLA Navy and Air Force.

Additionally, if the JL-2 were to employ a shroud to protect its warhead as do the majority of submarine-launched ballistic missiles today, this would be the first use of a shroud or fairing on a PRC missile.

The PRC's Medium- and Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

The PRC is also deploying, or developing for future deployment, a series of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, including both liquid- and solid-propellant technologies. Some are armed with conventional warheads and others with nuclear warheads. These missiles present a threat to U.S. forces deployed in the region, and to U.S. allies and friends in the region.

The PRC's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles include the CSS-6 short-range ballistic missile, the CSS-X-7 short-range ballistic missile, and the CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile. The PRC is also developing new versions of its short-range ballistic missiles, and may produce these systems in larger quantities than earlier-generation PRC ballistic missiles.

The PLA's CSS-6 (DF-15 or East Wind 15; also known as the M-9) is an advanced, solid-propellant, short-range ballistic missile that uses 1990s technology. It has a range of 375 miles. It is a road-mobile missile, launched from a transporter-erector-launcher. The CSS-6 may be fitted with nuclear warheads or with an enhanced radiation weapon (neutron bomb).

According to published reports, the majority of the PRC's CSS-6 missiles are deployed adjacent to Taiwan.

The PRC may attempt various means to improve the CSS-6's accuracy. The PRC claims to be planning to use the Global Positioning System (GPS) on its "M" missiles, which likely include the CSS-6, CSS-X-7, and other short-range ballistic missiles.

On two recent occasions, the PRC has launched a number of CSS-6 missiles towards Taiwan as a means of political intimidation. In July 1995, the PRC fired CSS-6 missiles to a location north of Taiwan in an attempt to influence Taiwan's parliamentary elections. In March 1996, the PRC again launched CSS-6 missiles to areas north and south of Taiwan's two major ports in an effort to influence its presidential elections.

The PRC is also developing the CSS-X-7 (DF-11 or East Wind 11; also known as the M-11) short-range ballistic missile. The CSS-X-7 is a mobile, 185-mile range solid-propellant ballistic missile that is launched from a transporter-erector-launcher. This missile has been exported to Pakistan. The main advantage of the CSS-X-7 over the CSS-6 is its ability to carry a larger payload.

The CSS-5 (DF-21, or East Wind 21) medium range ballistic missile is now deployed by the PRC. The CSS-5 is a road-mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missile with a range of 1,100 miles. The CSS-5 is assessed to carry a nuclear warhead payload. An improved version, known as the CSS-5 Mod 2, is under development in the PRC. The range of these missiles, if fitted with a conventional warhead, would be sufficient to hit targets in Japan.

The CSS-5 has also been developed in a submarine-launched ballistic missile version. The Western designation of this missile is CSS-NX-3; its PLA designation is JL-1 (Julang 1, or Great Wave 1). This missile is assessed to have a range of 1,200 miles. Missiles of this type will be launched from the PLA Navy Xia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.

While the Xia submarines were completed in 1981, the PRC has yet to deploy the CSS-NX-3 missile.27 Due to the missile's 1,000 mile range, the CSS-NX-3 is best suited for theater targets, although it could threaten the U.S. if the PRC chose to deploy it in open-ocean operations.

The PRC has also developed the CSS-8 (8610) short-range ballistic missile. The CSS-8 is derived from the Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile. The PRC has sold the missile to Iran.

Stolen U.S. Technology Used on PRC Ballistic Missiles

The PRC has stolen U.S. missile guidance technology that has direct applicability to the PLA's ballistic missiles and rockets. The stolen guidance technology is used on a variety of U.S. missiles and military aircraft:

* The 90-mile range U.S. Army Tactical Missile System
* The U.S. Navy's Stand-off Land Attack Missile-Extended Range (SLAM-ER)
* The U.S. Navy F-14 fighter jet
* The U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet
* The U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet
* The U.S. Air Force F-117 fighter jet

The PRC's Strategic Forces Doctrine

Following the detonation of its first nuclear weapon in 1964, the PRC publicly declared that it would never use nuclear weapons first against the homeland of a nuclear power or a non-nuclear nation. The PRC pointedly does not include Taiwan in this formulation. The PRC's announced strategic doctrine is based on the concept of "limited deterrence," which is defined as the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on an enemy in a retaliatory strike.28

The PRC's currently deployed ICBMs are so-called "city busters": that is, they are useful for targeting entire cities or large military bases, rather than smaller, hardened targets such as U.S. ICBM silos. The intercontinental-range CSS-4s are deployed in their silos without warheads and without propellants during day-to-day operations.29

Strategic doctrine, however, can change, and the PRC's movement towards a nuclear missile force of several kinds of mobile, long-range ballistic missiles will allow it to include a range of options in its nuclear force doctrine. The acknowledged high accuracy of U.S. ballistic missiles, as well as the large number of increasingly accurate Russian missiles, may have left the PRC unsatisfied with the vulnerability of its silo-based forces. The PRC's new mobile missiles will be difficult to locate once they have been dispersed from their garrisons, giving them far better protection from attack. These new, mobile, long-range missiles can also be launched on much shorter notice than the PRC's current force, due to their planned use of solid propellants.

Because they will be much more difficult to locate and destroy than the PRC's current silo-based ICBM force, these new mobile ICBMs will present a more credible threat against the U. S. in the event a crisis develops over a regional conflict in East Asia.

According to the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States:

In a crisis in which the U. S. confronts China's conventional and nuclear forces at the regional level, China's modernized strategic nuclear ballistic missile force would pose a credible threat against the United States.

Deterring the U. S. can be important to China's ability to use force to achieve its goal of being the preeminent power in East Asia.

China demonstrated a willingness to use ballistic missiles in the Taiwan crisis of 1995/96.

The question of a senior Chinese official ó was the U. S. willing to trade Los Angeles for Taiwan ó suggests their understanding of the linkage between China's regional and strategic ballistic missile capabilities.30

PRC Missile and Space Forces

PRC Missile and Space Forces
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PRC Missile and Space Forces

Since its beginning, the PRC's ballistic missile and space program has received considerable foreign expertise and technology. This support has helped the PRC become a major ballistic missile and space power. The PRC has received considerable assistance from Russia (and previously from the Soviet Union) and the United States, as well as from other nations such as France and Germany.

From 1956 to 1960, the Soviet Union was the major supplier of ballistic missile technology and knowledge to the PRC. The Sino-Soviet split in 1960 ended this cooperation. Today, however, Russia is a major supplier of space launch technology to the PRC. This assistance could be expanded to help the PRC in its efforts to develop road-mobile ICBMs, which would provide the PLA with more confidence in the survivability of its retaliatory nuclear force.

Technology and knowledge acquired from the United States has also assisted the PRC's missile and space programs, although this assistance was never officially sanctioned. Qian Xuesen was a Chinese citizen who was trained in the United States and who worked on classified programs including the Titan ICBM program. After being accused of spying for the PRC in the 1950s, Qian was permitted to return to the PRC, where he became the "father" of the PRC's ballistic missile and space programs. The illegal acquisition of U.S. technology for the PLA's ballistic missiles and space programs has continued aggressively during the past two decades, up to the present day.

The PRC has stolen design information on the United States' most advanced thermonuclear weapons, elements of which could be emulated by the PRC in its next generation ICBMs.

The PRC has stolen U.S. missile guidance technology that has direct applicability to the PLA's ballistic missiles.

Assistance from U.S. companies has improved the reliability of the PRC's military and civilian rockets, and the transfer of some of these improvements to its ballistic missiles is possible.

Western nations, including the United States, Germany, and France, have provided significant support to the PRC's satellite programs. German companies provide the communications package for the PRC's DFH-3 communications satellites. U.S.-manufactured radiation-hardened chips are also used on the PRC's meteorological satellites, used for both military and civilian purposes, to increase the on-orbit life of the satellites.

The PRC is a major ballistic missile proliferator. While the PRC agreed in 1991 to abide by the Missile Technology Control Regime, the PRC transferred complete ballistic missile systems to Pakistan in 1992, and has provided other nations with ballistic missiles production-related technologies. The PRC has not agreed to the MTCR's revised limits on transfers of ballistic missile components.

The PRC has transferred ballistic missile technology to Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and other countries.

PRC Missile and Space Forces


"By the next century, as high-tech space technology develops, the deployment of space-based weapons systems will be bound to make 'mastery of space' and 'mastery of outer space' prerequisites for naval victory."

PLA Navy Senior Colonel

Shen Zhongchang

In 1956, advisors from the Soviet Union convinced the leadership of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to include ballistic missile development in the PRC's Twelve Year Plan for the Development of Science and Technology (1956-1967). Having just fought a war against the United States in Korea and having come face-to-face with U.S. military supremacy, the PRC decided that combining long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons offered its best chance to build weapons capable of neutralizing the United States' and the Soviet Union's formidable advantage.

Since that time, the PRC has embarked on an extensive ballistic missile and space program.

From its beginning in the 1950s, the PRC has also adapted its ballistic missile program into a major international space program. Since its first space launch in 1971, the PRC has developed ten variations of rockets that have allowed it to place 44 satellites into orbit.

Today, the PRC is embarked on a modernization plan for its ballistic missile and space forces. This expansion includes the exploitation of space-based military reconnaissance and communications satellites and space-based weapons.1 In addition, the PRC has set for itself the goal of putting men in space this year.

This chapter provides an analysis of the PRC's missile and space forces, and the impact that Western technology has had on those forces. It details the PRC's ballistic missile forces; its space forces, including its rockets and satellites; and the interaction between the two groups.

This chapter also serves as an introduction to the capabilities of the PRC's missile and space programs, and the degree to which foreign assistance and technology may affect the course of their future development.

This chapter is derived from an extensive chapter in the Select Committee's classified Report, much of which, due to national security concerns, cannot be reproduced here.

The PLA's Ballistic Missile Forces

Development of the PLA's Ballistic Missile Forces

The early development of the PLA's indigenous ballistic missile programs was marked by Soviet assistance, and by the guidance of a Chinese citizen who had returned to the PRC after working on the U.S. Titan intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program.2

The Soviet Union's Contribution to the PLA's Ballistic Missile Force

The PRC received its first ballistic missiles in 1956, with the acquisition of two Soviet R-1 missiles. These were copies of the German cryogenic liquid-propellant V-2 missiles used in World War II. The PRC quickly acquired more advanced missiles in the form of the R-2 in 1957. The R-2 had considerable technical improvements over the R-1, including a greater range and a larger payload, as well as the use of storable liquid propellants.

In addition to the ballistic missiles themselves, the Soviet Union provided the PRC with blueprints for the R-2 missiles, and with advisors to assist in the PRC's development of a copy of the R-2. With this Soviet technical assistance, the PRC was able to produce and deploy these missiles.

During this period, PRC engineers and students received training at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). While at MAI, these students were trained in aeronautical engineering, and acquired experience with more advanced Soviet missiles such as the SS-3 and the SS-4. In many instances, the information gained about more advanced Soviet missiles came when the students made copies of restricted notes, and quizzed their professors about the Soviet missiles.

In 1960, the Sino-Soviet split ended all cooperation, including missile cooperation, between the PRC and the Soviet Union. This left the PRC to continue its missile programs on its own, using the know-how it had gained from the Soviet Union, and the expertise of its American-trained scientists.

The Role of Qian Xuesen in the Development Of the PRC's Ballistic Missile and Space Programs

The PRC's ballistic missile and space programs received substantial assistance during their early development from Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-Shen), a Chinese citizen who was trained in the United States and had worked on classified U.S. missile programs, including the Titan intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Qian Xuesen became instrumental in the PRC's ballistic missiles program, where he is known as the "father of China's ballistic missile force." A biography of Qian published in the PRC states that he "made significant contributions to the rapid development of Chinese rockets [and] missiles, as well as space flight." 3

Born in Shanghai in 1911, Qian left China in 1935 during the Japanese occupation. He received his Masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech). At Cal Tech, Qian worked as a member of the rocket research group of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

While at the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory he made "pioneering contributions" to aviation engineering theory in the areas of supersonic and transonic aerodynamics, as well as thin shell stability theory for ballistic missile structures.4

At JPL, Qian was recognized as one of the world's foremost experts on jet propulsion. During this time, he worked on Private A, which was the first solid propellant missile that performed successfully in the United States.5

Based on his rocket work at Cal Tech, Qian was recruited to join the U.S. Army Air Force in the development of its long-range missile programs.6 Commissioned a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Force,7 he eventually began working on the Titan intercontinental ballistic missile.8

During the 1950s, allegations arose that Qian was spying for the PRC. 9 He lost his security clearances and was removed from work on U.S. ballistic missiles. 10 The allegations that he was spying for the PRC are presumed to be true.

Qian was invited back to the PRC and, after negotiations between the U.S. Government and the PRC, Qian was allowed to return to the PRC in 1955. Four other Chinese members of Qian's Titan design team also returned with him to the PRC.11 There were additional allegations that Qian attempted to ship classified documents to the PRC before he left in 1955.12

Once back in the PRC, Qian became the leading figure in the PRC's ballistic missile effort.13 Qian and his associates were able to apply the knowledge they gained from working on U.S. ballistic missile programs to the PRC's ballistic missile programs.

Qian became the chief project manager in all of the PRC's ballistic missile programs, and was the lead designer of the CSS-4 intercontinental ballistic missile. The CSS-4 is the nuclear-armed ICBM currently targeted on the United States. (All but two of the PRC's approximately 20 CSS-4 ICBMs have been deployed during the 1990s.)

Qian was also the first director of the PRC's Fifth Academy, which was responsible for aeronautics and missile development research.14 Today, the Fifth Academy is known as the China Aerospace Corporation (CASC), and its current Director is PRC Minister Liu Jiyuan.15

Qian was also instrumental in the development of the PRC's space program. In 1958, he began presenting his concepts for a satellite to the Communist Party leadership. In 1962, Qian began training PRC scientists in the design and development of satellites. The satellite, which would become known as the Dong Fang Hong-1, was launched on April 24, 1970. Qian was personally commended by Mao Zedong and other PRC leaders for his contributions to the design and launch of the satellite.16

The CCP leadership awarded Qian the honorary rank of Lieutenant General in the People's Liberation Army. It is a rank commensurate with his place as a senior scientist in the PRC's ballistic missile program.17

In 1991, President Jiang Zemin provided Qian with the "State Scientist of Outstanding Contribution" award, which is the highest honor a scientist in the PRC can achieve.18

Development of the PLA's Intermediate- and Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

The PRC began developing three ballistic missiles in the early 1960s. The first two, which would become known in the West as the CSS-2 and CSS-3, showed strong Soviet design influences, especially in the guidance and propulsion subsystems. The third missile, which would become known as the CSS-4, uses advanced gyroscopes for increased accuracy. The chart on the previous page illustrates current and future PRC ballistic missile systems.

The CSS-2 mobile missile is designated by the PLA as the Deng Feng 3 (that is, East Wind 3). It has evolved into a 1,700- to 1,900-mile range single-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile. The PLA deploys CSS-2 ballistic missiles on mobile launchers. The PRC sold several dozen of these CSS-2 missiles, armed with conventional warheads, to Saudi Arabia in 1988.

The CSS-3 (PLA designation DF-4, or East Wind 4) was the PRC's first missile with "intercontinental" range. The CSS-3 is a two-stage liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile. It has a range of more than 3,400 miles,19 but is considered a "limited range" ICBM because it cannot reach the United States. It uses the medium-range CSS-2 as its first stage. Targets for the PLA's CSS-3 missiles could include:

* India
* Russia
* The U.S. Naval Facility at Diego Garcia
* The U.S. Air Force Base at Guam

The CSS-3 missiles are based in silos, and in mountainside tunnels where they are rolled out and erected for launch.20 The CSS-3 missile has been deployed by the PLA since 1980.21

The PLA's Current "East Wind" Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

The CSS-4 (PLA designation DF-5, or East Wind 5) is currently the PRC's main ICBM nuclear threat against the United States.

The CSS-4 program began in the 1960s. It was originally envisioned that the missile would use liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants, similar to those used in the Soviet R-7 (SS-6) missile and in the U.S. Atlas. In the early 1960s, however, the program transitioned into the use of storable propellant.

Progress in the CSS-4 program was slowed by the Great Leap Forward in 1963 and the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976, which compounded the technical challenges of developing an ICBM. The CSS-4's development program continued to progress over the next 20 years.

New Questions About U.S. Intelligence on China:


By locating the original Chinese-language source of this quote, we found that it does not represent an authoritative source on Chinese military space activities. Worse, an examination of the original Chinese shows that the quote is mistranslated in ways that significantly change its meaning.
In its recently released 2005 annual report The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) states that China “plans to field” anti-satellite (ASAT) systems.2 The report offers no evidence to support this assertion, which is noteworthy if true since it appears to be inconsistent with China’s longstanding diplomatic effort to begin negotiations on a new international arms control agreement that would ban attacks on satellites.
However, previous DoD claims about Chinese ASAT systems have been called into question. The 2003 and 2004 DoD Chinese Military Power reports referred to an advanced Chinese ASAT system called a “parasitic microsatellite” that had reportedly been “ground tested” and was ready for space-testing. The Union of Concerned Scientists challenged this assertion in an August 2004 analysis of the source of this claim, which showed that the original source was not credible.3 The 2005 DoD report is more circumspect about Chinese capabilities, and has withdrawn the claim about the “parasite satellite,” but it continues to state that China intends to deploy ASAT systems.

What is the basis of this claim? As noted above, the 2005 DoD report does not provide evidence or a source. A possible source is the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. NASIC’s website states that it is “The sole national center for integrated intelligence on aerospace systems, forces, and threats.”4
NASIC released a report entitled Challenges to U.S. Space Superiority in March 2005,5 which was during the time the DoD report was being prepared. A close evaluation of information in this report raises questions about the quality of the analysis NASIC provides, and more generally about the sources of information on which the DoD relies for its assessments of Chinese military capabilities.
Our intent is not to consider the issue of whether or not China is developing or fielding ASAT weapons, but to gain insight into the quality of U.S. intelligence on this issue.
Analysis of the March 2005 NASIC Report
The NASIC report discusses current uses of space and potential threats to U.S. space assets, but makes few specific claims about the capabilities of various countries.
However, the report highlights its concern about anti-satellite threats by including a quote—which is emphasized by being set off from the text in a box—by an official at a Chinese military facility. Its inclusion suggests that it was seen as an important quote that accurately reflects Chinese intentions regarding ASATs.
Although the NASIC report does not give a reference for the quote, we conducted a search of Chinese periodical databases and found the Chinese-language article from which it was taken. As we discuss in more detail below, it was written by Liying Zhang (not Zhan, as the NASIC report states) and two colleagues. Zhang was a junior instructor at the Langfang Army Missile Academy, which was closed in July 2004. Its primary responsibility was providing live-fire and simulated training for junior Chinese artillery officers. The article is far from an authoritative source on China’s military space program. More seriously, an examination of the original Chinese sentence shows that NASIC mistranslated the quote in ways that significantly change its meaning.
Considering the accuracy of this quote is interesting since it is the most specific claim the NASIC report presents about Chinese intentions regarding ASATs.
The quote in question appears on page 21 of the NASIC report. NASIC’s translation clearly states that China is actively developing anti-satellite weapons:
“China will monitor closely foreign developments in advanced satellite technology, paying close attention to progress made in military use of space while actively developing ASAT systems.” - Liying Zhan, Langfang Army Missile Academy

The quote is taken from the final sentence of the original Chinese article; a more accurate translation of the original is:
“While properly following foreign satellite advanced technology, (China) also should actively develop anti-satellite weapons and pay close attention to the progress of international space arms control, in order to facilitate the timely determination of a response.”6
The NASIC translation makes several important errors. The first is rendering the Chinese word ying as “will” instead of “should.” Zhang et al. use this sentence to close their essay with a recommendation about what China should do, not a statement of what China intends to do or is currently doing. This is an important distinction. The original text makes clear that the authors believe China has not yet made a decision about proceeding with anti-satellite weapons, and they therefore make a recommendation about China’s course of action..
The authors seem to be stating their view that China is currently following developments in foreign satellite technology, and that while it is proper for China to be following these developments,7 they believe China should also be actively developing anti-satellite weapons. The word jiji, which NASIC properly translates as “actively,” also has the meaning of energetically or vigorously, which suggests the authors feel China needs to do more than it is at present. This is very different than the meaning implied by the NASIC version of the quote.
The second translation error is the most disturbing. NASIC translates the phrase junbei kongzhi as “military use of space” when it should be translated as “arms control.” It is difficult to imagine how anyone familiar with these issues could make such a mistake.
The result is to completely obscure the Chinese authors’ intention, which is to recommend that China should factor developments in international arms control into its decision of how to respond to the escalating competition in military space technology that is described in the body of their article. NASIC compounds this error by omitting the final phrase “to facilitate the timely determination of a response,” which makes clear that the authors are saying that China has not yet made a decision about whether to respond by fielding ASATs. Moreover, it makes clear that Zhang et al. believe that China’s policy toward anti-satellite weapons should depend not only on new technologies, but also on the state of international arms control negotiations (China and Russia have proposed an international agreement at the Conference on Disarmament that would prohibit attacks on satellites). The authors seem to be advocating a hedging strategy, recommending that China should have anti-satellite weapons ready if the diplomatic effort to protect their space assets fails.
While there may be ambiguities in the meaning intended by the Chinese authors, NASIC’s translation of this quotation completely changes its meaning. As noted above, since this is the
6 The subject in Chinese sentences is often not explicitly stated. As is common practice in translating Chinese to English, we have indicated this by including the word “China” since it is implied but not stated in the original Chinese.
7 NASIC incorrectly translates the Chinese word zhengque as “closely” instead of “properly” or “correctly.” The difference is of some importance since the correct translation implies that the statement is a judgement by the authors, which is consistent with our interpretation of the full sentence.
most specific claim presented about Chinese intentions regarding ASATs in the NASIC report, the accuracy of this quote is important.
The inclusion of this quote in the NASIC report implies that the authors of the NASIC report either:
• are unable to translate Chinese competently and are unable to evaluate the quality of its sources, or are not interested in doing so;
• used a translation of the quote supplied by someone else and did not check it for accuracy or relevance; or
• were aware that the quote was mistranslated in a way that completely altered its meaning, and decided to use it anyway.
All of these possibilities are clearly problematic given the need for accurate intelligence information. It is important to determine whether this a case of poor scholarship, or making a quote fit a particular point of view.
Moreover, it is important to understand what this case may imply about about the quality of U.S. intelligence on China more generally.
The Department of Defense, the U.S. Congress, and the American public are justifiably interested in the progress of China’s military space program. They deserve high-quality intelligence information, which is necessary for making good policy decisions.
While public versions of intelligence reports typically reveal little information about their sources, with the result that those sources and claims are difficult to evaluate, two sources that we have been able to identify and analyze in the past two years have revealed serious problems in the intelligence reports. Our analyses have shown a failure of U.S. intelligence analysts to properly evaluate Chinese sources, and to properly translate and understand these sources. We do not know how widespread these problems are. But these examples indicate inadequacies in the nation’s intelligence that should be addressed immediately.
Identifying the Source of the Quote
Because the NASIC report does not provide a citation for the quotation about Chinese ASATs, we conducted a full-text search of eight major Chinese periodical databases containing over twenty-three million articles. The search returned 182 publications by authors from the Langfang Army Missile Academy, but none under the surname Zhan. There were, however, six publications by an instructor named Liying Zhang. Since the name “Zhan” is used twice in the NASIC report it does not appear to be a typographical error. Instead, the NASIC translator’s use of “Zhan” is a probably an incorrect Romanization of Ms. Zhang’s surname.8
It is worth noting that the Langfang Army Missile Academy was closed in July 2004, by a decision of the Central Military Commission. It was a small institute whose primary responsibility was providing live-fire and simulated training for junior Chinese artillery
We note that many Chinese routinely mispronounce standard Mandarin, and in some regions of China it is common to cut off the “g” sound at the end of words like zhang and shang.
officers. Most of these training missions were dispersed to other military facilities and a new branch of the PLA Artillery Command College was established on the old Langfang campus.9 There is no indication that Langfang was an important research or development center for Chinese military aerospace programs at the time the article was written; indeed, the Zhang article is the only article on anti-satellite weapons written by an author from Langfang that we were able to discover in our extensive searches.
Ms. Zhang was a junior faculty member in the Ground-to-Ground Missile Control Testing Engineering Teaching and Research Office at Langfang. None of the articles under her name have passages that correspond exactly to the sentence translated by NASIC, but one article, entitled “A Rudimentary Analysis of Anti-Satellite Weapons Technology and Defensive Measures,” published (in Chinese) in the journal Winged Missiles in March 2004 just before Langfang closed,10 is similar to the quotation contained in the NASIC report. Because our extensive searches did not turn up other articles by this author on this subject, and because the phrases are so similar, we assume this is the article the NASIC report used. In addition to Ms. Zhang, this article has two coauthors, Professors Zhang Qixin and Wang Hui, both from the same office at Langfang.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Revolt stirs among China’s nuclear ghosts .

Up to 190,000 may have died as a result of China’s weapons tests: now ailing survivors want compensation
The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China’s zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb.

They talk of picking up radioactive debris with their bare hands, of sluicing down bombers that had flown through mushroom clouds, of soldiers dying before their time of strange and rare diseases, and children born with mysterious cancers.

These were the men and women of Unit 8023, a special detachment charged with conducting atomic tests at Lop Nur in Xinjiang province, a place of utter desolation and – until now – complete secrecy.

“I was a member of Unit 8023 for 23 years,” said one old soldier in an interview. “My job was to go into the blast zone to retrieve test objects and monitoring equipment after the explosion.
When my daughter was born she was diagnosed with a huge tumour on her spinal cord. The doctors blame nuclear fallout. She’s had two major operations and has lived a life of indescribable hardship. And all we get from the government is 130 yuan [£13] a month.”

Hardship and risk counted for little when China was determined to join the nuclear club at any cost.

Soldiers galloped on horseback towards mushroom clouds, with only gas masks for protection.

Scientists jumped for joy, waving their little red books of Maoist thought, while atomic debris boiled in the sky.

Engineers even replicated a full-scale Beijing subway station beneath the sands of the Gobi to test who might survive a Sino-Soviet armageddon.

New research suggests the Chinese nuclear tests from 1964 to 1996 claimed more lives than those of any other nation. Professor Jun Takada, a Japanese physicist, has calculated that up to 1.48m people were exposed to fallout and 190,000 of them may have died from diseases linked to radiation.

“Nuclear sands” - a mixture of dust and fission products - were blown by prevailing winds from Lop Nur towards towns and villages along the ancient Silk Road from China to the West.

The victims included Chinese, Uighur Muslims and Tibetans, who lived in these remote regions. Takada found deformed children as far away as Kazakhstan. No independent scientific study has ever been published inside China.

It is the voices of the Chinese veterans, however, that will reso-nate loudest in a nation proud of its nuclear status but ill informed about the costs. One group has boldly published letters to the state council and the central military commission - the two highest government and military bodies - demanding compensation.

“Most of us are between 50 and 70 and in bad health,” they said. “We did the most hazardous job of all, retrieving debris from the missile tests.

“We were only 10 kilometres [six miles] from the blast. We entered the zone many times with no protective suits, only goggles and gas masks. Afterwards, we just washed ourselves down with plain water.”

A woman veteran of Unit 8023 described in an interview how her hair had fallen out. She had lost weight, suffered chronic insomnia and had episodes of confusion.

“Between 1993 and 1996 the government speeded up the test programme, so I assisted at 10 underground explosions,” she said. “We had to go into the test zone to check highly radioactive instruments. Now I’m too sick to work - will the government help me?”

The price was paid by more than one generation. “My father was in Unit 8023 from 1967 to 1979, when his job was to wash down aircraft that had flown through the mushroom clouds,” said a 37-year-old man.

“I’ve been disabled by chronic immune system diseases all my life and my brother’s daughter was born with a heart defect,” he said. “Our family has spent thousands of yuan on operations over the decades. Two and three generations of our family have such illnesses - was it the nuclear tests? Does our government plan any compensation?”

In fact, the government has already responded to pressure from veterans’ groups. Last year Li Xueju, the minister of civil affairs, let slip that the state had started to pay “subsidies” to nuclear test personnel but gave no details of the amounts.

Such is the legacy of the decision by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, in 1955, to build the bomb in order to make China a great power.

Mao was driven by fear of the US and rivalry with the Soviet Union. He coveted the might that would be bestowed by nuclear weapons on a poor agricultural nation. Celebrations greeted the first test explosion on October 16, 1964.

The scientists staged a total of 46 tests around the Lop Nur site, 1,500 miles west of Beijing. Of these tests, 23 were in the atmosphere, 22 underground and one failed. They included thermonuclear blasts, neutron bombs and an atomic bomb covertly tested for Pakistan on May 26, 1990.

One device, dropped from an aircraft on November 17, 1976, was 320 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The last explosion in the air was in 1980, but the last underground test was not until July 29, 1996. Later that year, China signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and, once again, only the sigh of the winds could be heard in the desolation of the Gobi desert.

The financial cost remains secret, but the price of the first bomb was roughly equal to more than a third of the entire state budget for 1957 – spending that went on while at least 30m Chinese peasants died of famine and the nuclear scientists themselves lived on hardship rations.

Rare was the outsider who gained a glimpse of this huge project. One was Danny Stillman, director of technical intelligence at Los Alamos, New Mexico, home of America’s nuclear weapons. He made 10 visits to secret Chinese nuclear facilities during a period of detente and information exchange from 1990 to 2001.

“Some of the videos they showed me were of PLA [People’s Liberation Army] soldiers riding on horses - with gas masks over the noses and mouths of both the horses and the soldiers - as they were riding towards the mushroom cloud of an atmospheric surface detonation,” Stillman recalled.

“It was strange because the soldiers had swords raised above their heads as they headed for the radioactive fallout. I have always wondered how many of them survived.”

Stillman was also allowed to see the lengths to which the Chinese scientists had gone to experiment with annihilation in the desert.

Like the Americans, the Chinese placed caged live animals, tanks, planes, vehicles and buildings around test sites. Such were the remains gathered by the men and women of Unit 8302.

“The surprise to me was that they also had a full-scale Beijing subway station with all supporting utilities constructed at an undefined depth directly underneath,” said Stillman.

“There were 10,000 animals and a model of a Yangtze River bridge,” recalled Wu Qian, a scientist.

Li Yi, a woman doctor, added: “Animals placed two kilometres from the blast centre were burnt to cinders and those eight kilometres away died within a few days.”

China had borrowed Soviet blueprints and spied on the West, according to The Nuclear Express, a book by Stillman and Thomas Reed, the former US air force secretary.

It explains how China then exploited its human capital to win technological parity with the US for just 4% of the effort - 45 successful test explosions against more than 1,000 American tests.

“The Chinese nuclear weapon scientists I met . . . were exceptionally brilliant,” Stillman said.

Of China’s top 10 pioneers, two were educated at Edinburgh University - Cheng Kaijia, director of the weapons laboratory, and Peng Huan-wu, designer of the first thermonuclear bomb. Six went to college in the United States, one in France and one in Germany.

For all this array of genius, no Chinese scientist has dared to publish a study of the human toll.

That taboo has been broken by Takada, a physicist at the faculty of medicine at Sapporo University, who is an adviser on radiation hazards to the government of Japan.

He developed a computer simulation model, based on fieldwork at Soviet test sites in Kazakhstan, to calculate that 1.48m people were exposed to contamination during 32 years of Chinese tests.

Takada used internationally recognised radiation dosage measurements to estimate that 190,000 have died of cancer or leukaemia. He believes 35,000 foetuses were deformed or miscarried, with cases found as far away as Makanchi, near the Kazakh border with China.

To put his findings in perspective, Takada said China’s three biggest tests alone generated 4m times more radioactivity than the Chernobyl reactor accident of 1986. He has called the clouds of fallout “an air tsunami”.

Despite the pall of silence inside China, two remarkable proofs of the damage to health have come from official Communist party documents, dated 2007 and available on provincial websites.

One is a request to the health ministry from peasants’ and workers’ delegates in Xinjiang province for a special hospital to be built to cope with large numbers of patients who were “exposed to radiation or who wandered into the test zones by mistake”.

The other records a call by a party delegate named Xingfu for compensation and a study of “the severe situation of radiation sickness” in the county of Xiaobei, outside the oasis town of Dunhuang.

Both claims were rejected. Residents of Xiaobei report an alarming number of cancer deaths and children born with cleft palates, bone deformities and scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

Specialists at hospitals in three cities along the Silk Road all reported a disproportionate number of cancer and leukaemia cases.

“I have read the Japanese professor’s work on the internet and I think it is credible,” said one. No cancer statistics for the region are made public.

Some memories, though, remain indelible. One man in Dunhuang recalled climbing up a mountain-side to watch a great pillar of dust swirl in from the desert.

“For days we were ordered to keep our windows closed and stay inside,” recounted another middle-aged man. “For months we couldn’t eat vegetables or fruits. Then after a while they didn’t bother with that any more.”

But they did go on testing. And the truth about the toll may never be known unless, one day, a future Chinese government allows pathologists to search for the answers in the cemeteries of the Silk Road.

The dead of Dunhuang lie in a waste ground on the fringe of the desert, at the foot of great dunes where tourists ride on camels. Tombs, cairns and unmarked heaps of earth dot the boundless sands.

By local tradition, the clothes of the deceased are thrown away at their funerals. Dresses, suits and children’s garments lie half-buried by dust around the graves.

“People don’t live long around here,” said a local man who led me to the graveyard. “Fifty, 60 - then they’re gone.

Last month there was an artilce wriiten by some senior Chinese nuclear officials about Indian nuclear.In that article they raised some doubts that Indian nuc arsenal is not safe and Inida is doing proliferation.By the above artilce we cna know how bad and wrost China is.The whole world knows how China proliferted to Pakistan and many othercountires.So my sincere advice to Chinese officials is to better concentrate on thier issues.

Nuclear Facilities redline

China's numerous "third line" highly secret, remote and difficult to detect nuclear facilities—which were constructed in 1960s in an effort to duplicate critical defense infrastructure—span the entire country; however nuclear facilities, both secret and public, are primarily concentrated in the Sichuan province.The principle nuclear facility is the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP) in Mianyang, Sichuan province. CAEP overseas 12 institutesdedicated to nuclear weapons research and design as well as nuclear and non-nuclear component development.In the last 15-20 years, the attention of China's nuclear program has been diverted from nuclear weapons towards civilian commercial energy.Since decommissioning most of China's military nuclear facilities, Chinese nuclear authorities has focused on plutonium and uranium enrichment for civilian nuclear energy. The primary plutonium processing plants for weapons grade plutonium were closed between 1984 and 1990. China has reportedly ceased the processing of plutonium and uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons; the exact volume of China's plutonium stockpiles is unclear. However, experts David Wright and Lisbeth Gronlund argue that amount ranges from 1-5 tons.The highly enriched uranium stockpiles are estimated to be 15-25 tons.China's maintained fissile material stockpiles have remained constant since 1991.

The Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) is the ultimate authority with regards to China's nuclear weapons, and the management of the relevant facilities.The PLA Second Artillery Corps is responsible for the deployment of nuclear weapons. The Second Artillery Corps answers directly to the CMC General Staff Department (GSD). The GSD is responsible for operational command of nuclear forces. Under the approval of the CMC, the GSD is responsible for the nuclear doctrine. China maintains a doctrine of minimum deterrence, and adheres to a no-first-use (NFU) policy.
The CMC has delegated authority over Chinese military nuclear facilities to the General Armaments Department (GAD), which is led by Gen. Chang Wanquan. The GAD is responsible for nuclear weapons research, development, testing, and military application. The nuclear facilities are led directly by the General Armaments Department (GAD) of the CMC; the facilities are operated at the discretion of the Chairman of the CMC.
The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is the principle governing body managing the civilian reactors. Important bodies within the civilian nuclear power leadership are the Chinese Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) and Chinese Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA). The CNNC holds authority over many civilian power reactors such as the Yibin Nuclear Fuel Component Plant, which is responsible for plutonium processing for civilian use. The CNNC also maintains authority over the CIAE which remains a principle organization dedicated to plutonium fuel science research and development. Nuclear facilities such as CAEP are directly under the supervision of the GAD, but also work, since 2008, with State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Previously, SASTIND was its own ministry-level organization--the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND). Prior to the 2008 reorganization, which saw the entity reduced in rank, COSTIND maintained research and development with the industrial enterprises which are contracted with GAD, such as the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). SASTIND appears to continue in this role.
China's first uranium enrichment plant, located in Lanzhou, Gansu province, was developed and made operational in 1964. The Lanzhou Gaseous Diffusion Plant operated commercially from 1980-1997; it, however, has been decommissioned. Another civilian enrichment plant at the same site, with 500,000 Separate Work Units (SWU) per year capacity, has been developed through Russian-Chinese third phase enrichment plant agreement. China's nuclear fuel cycle facilities have undergone numerous changes since the early 1980s, including the closure of the Jiuquan Atomic Energy Complex (Gansu province) in 1984 and to the decommissioning Guangyuan Plant 821 in Sichuan province in 1990. The highly enriched uranium (HEU) production facilities at Lanzhou and Heping (Sichuan province) have reportedly ended production of HEU for the military. The Heping Enrichment Plant produced highly enriched uranium for military purposes from 1975-1989; however, it is thought to be decommissioned. A gas centrifuge enrichment plant at Hanzhun was developed in cooperation with a Russian company Tenex, and is under IAEA safeguards. In 1996, Phase I of the Hanzhun Enrichment Plant agreement began where 200,000 SWU per year capacity was installed. In 1998, Phase II of the agreement say Hanzhun upgraded to a total of 500,000 SWU per year capacity. Phase III resulted in the construction of a 500,000 SWU facility in Lanzhou in 2001. Finally, in 2007 Tenex and China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) signed an agreement to provide technical assistance to construct the 500,000 SWU per year capacity for Hanzhun enrichment plant to commence in 2010 as part of phase IV of the Russia-China enrichment plant agreement.

Presently, China has 11 commercially operated nuclear power reactors under the leadership of either the CNNC or the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC). Fourteen more civilian power reactor facilities are under construction, and ten are set to begin construction in 2009.

Uranium is mined in several sites including: Fuzhou (Fujian province), Chongyi (Jiangxi province), Yining (Xinjiang Autonomous Region), Lantian (Shaanxi province), and Benxi (Liaoning province). Once the uranium is milled it is transported to the Lanzhou Conversion Plant in Gansu province where it is converted to UF6. After conversion it is enriched at the Lanzhou plant or the Hanzhun facility in Shaanxi province. Both facilities have a 500,000 SWU per year enrichment plants. The enriched uranium is sent to Yibin Nuclear Fuel Complex or the Baotou Nuclear Fuel Complex for fabrication. Spent fuel is stored in nuclear power plants throughout the country. There is a reprocessing plant under construction in Lanzhou, and a wet storage facility under construction in the Lanzhou Nuclear Fuel Complex. HEU would then be placed in a bomb core and assembled.

Harbin in Heilongjiang province is the location of a possible warhead production site. Plant 821 site located in Guangyuan, Sichuan province, was a former weapons assembly facility. The warhead production site receives non-nuclear components from either the Baotou Nuclear Fuel Component plant or Institute 905 of the CAEP. The status of Harbin weapons assembly facility is unknown. China halted uranium enrichment for military purposes in 1987 and plutonium production for military purposes in 1991. Many of the military facilities were redirected towards supporting China's civilian power reactors.

The CAEP is responsible for nuclear weapons research and design, and is still in operation despite the unofficial moratorium on fissile material production. The CAEP has 12 institutes including the Institute of Applied Physics and Mathematics in Beijing which is responsible for nuclear weapons design computations. Before China halted nuclear weapon testing in 1996, the CAEP likely collaborated with the Northwest Nuclear Technology Institute in Malan, Xinjiang on nuclear research. However, the extent of this interaction is unknown. The Shanghai Institute of Nuclear Research engages in nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles development. The CAEP is the primary facility for nuclear weapons research and design, while the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear Research holds responsibility over China's nuclear missile program.

Monday 2 November 2009

The Impact of U.S. NMD on Chinese Nuclear Modernization

Chinese Nuclear Deterrence

The Chinese decision to build its own nuclear weapons was a response to the nuclear threats posed by the United States (U.S.).1 In the 1950s, China perceived constant nuclear threats from the U.S. and felt that the threat could be negated by nuclear deterrence. China chose to develop its own nuclear force rather than accepting the Soviet nuclear umbrella because it did not want to lose its sovereignty and independence in a military alliance with the former Soviet Union. In January 1955, the Chinese leaders made a decision to develop atomic bombs to defeat the U.S. nuclear blackmail and nuclear monopoly.2 The next year, China began to organize research on atomic bombs and the missiles that would carry them.3 After the Soviet Union tried to constrain China from further developing Chinese nuclear weapons, China became more determined to develop an independent nuclear force.4

The purpose of the Chinese nuclear development is to defend its vital national security by countering possible nuclear blackmail. China worries that the superpowers would feel free to offend China's vital security interests without apprehension if China did not have nuclear weapons. It expects that its nuclear arsenal would discourage the use of nuclear weapons or the threat of using nuclear weapons against China. The Chinese leaders believed that (1) a modest nuclear force would be able to neutralize nuclear blackmail made by the superpowers and deter their nuclear attacks; and (2) nuclear weapons are not militarily usable and therefore the Chinese nuclear weapons are not for war-fighting.5 Based on Mao Zedong's nuclear strategic thought, China made a no-first-use commitment immediately after its first nuclear test. In this commitment, China pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. Since then, the no-first-use commitment has become an important part of the Chinese nuclear strategy.

To explore the impact of U.S. National Missile Defense on the Chinese nuclear deterrent, we need to quantitatively understand how the Chinese nuclear deterrent works now. The difficulty here is that the Chinese government has never explicitly explained how to translate the Chinese nuclear strategy into quantitative requirements for its nuclear force. So we have to make some educated guesses in our analysis on the Chinese nuclear deterrent. In addition, all the discussions on the Chinese nuclear deterrence in this paper will be only in the China-U.S. context.

Chinese nuclear development may be divided into three stages. In the first stage, China had only a symbolic or existential nuclear deterrence until it acquired the capability of launching Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in 1980.6 After that, the Chinese nuclear deterrence entered into the second stage in which deterrence is based on the quantitative ambiguity of its nuclear force. In general, the creditability of the nuclear deterrent of a country depends on its rivals' perception about its nuclear retaliatory capability. It is widely believed that China has about twenty liquid-fuel silo-based ICBMs that can reach the U.S.7 The two dozen land-based ICBMs that have been detected and located by the U.S. intelligence agencies would have very little chance of surviving a U.S. preemptive nuclear strike. However, because China has neither confirmed nor denied any outside estimates about the size of its long-range nuclear force, it is difficult for the U.S. to rule out some errors in its estimate. If the U.S. considers launching a preemptive nuclear strike against China, the Americans would understand that they may not know the exact number of the Chinese ICBMs. They may have some confidence that they could destroy all the two dozen detected Chinese ICBMs in a preemptive strike, but they would have to worry about a Chinese nuclear retaliation with a few undetected ICBMs. Such a worry would discourage and deter the U.S. from attempting a nuclear strike against China.

The total number of the Chinese ICBMs do not make direct contribution to the Chinese nuclear deterrence because multiplying this number does not increase the strength of the deterrence. The error or uncertainty of the American estimate about the size of the Chinese long-range nuclear force forms the perceived Chinese retaliatory capability in the U.S. and the scope of this uncertainty or error is directly relevant to the credibility of Chinese deterrence.

To deter a first nuclear strike from the U.S., the Chinese nuclear retaliation must be able to cause an intolerable amount of damage to the U.S. There are different estimations about the minimum number of nuclear warheads needed for causing intolerable damage based on different criteria.8 The criterion used in this paper is drawn from the history of recent U.S. conventional wars. The U.S. ended two wars without winning them in the last half century: the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. There were several reasons for the U.S. withdrawing from these two wars. One important and common reason is that each war had caused tens of thousands of American casualties. So, I assume that the U.S. would choose other options rather than launching a nuclear strike against China in a crisis if the U.S. understands that the strike would initiate a Chinese nuclear retaliation and that the retaliation can cause more American casualties than the above figures: tens of thousands. A nuclear bomb with a yield of about one megaton TNT equivalent exploded over a big city would certainly cause many more casualties than tens of thousands. So, a Chinese retaliatory strike with a few nuclear warheads should be able to deter a first nuclear attack from the U.S.

The above discussion shows that the nature of the Chinese minimum nuclear deterrence is quite different from that of the other nuclear states. In its current stage, the Chinese minimum nuclear deterrence comes from the quantitative ambiguity of its nuclear force. As long as this uncertainty is larger than a few ICBMs, the deterrence is stable. Now, Chinese nuclear development is going to enter a third stage, in which China will have credible and visible minimum nuclear deterrence. The Chinese long-range nuclear force could not be saturated by a U.S. preemptive strike, i.e., at least a few Chinese ICBMs or Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) would be able to survive a U.S. preemptive strike and could be used in a retaliatory strike no matter how well the U.S. measures the total number of the Chinese nuclear weapons. China has two options to acquire a credible nuclear deterrence: to increase the quantity or to raise the survivability of its nuclear force. Table 1 gives the number of nuclear weapons China needs to maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterrence in different Chinese deployment modes and at different levels of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This paper gives one estimate based on the criteria explained above and assumptions listed below. Other estimates might give quantitatively different numbers, but the general pattern would be the same and would not change the argument made in this paper.

It shows to acquire a credible nuclear deterrence, China needs a big expansion of its long-range nuclear arsenal if it does not raise its survivability beyond placing the missiles in hardened silos. If China successfully develops mobile ICBMs or SLBMs, it needs very little, if any, increase in its long-range nuclear force. It is reported that the size of the Chinese long-range nuclear force has been stable over time in the last two decades and that China is working on mobile ICBMs.9 This suggests that China has chosen the second option, that is to build credible minimum deterrence by increasing the survivability rather than the number of its long-range nuclear weapons. If there is no missile defense, this will be the direction of the Chinese nuclear modernization. Nuclear development in this direction is very predictable and stable. This approach to nuclear modernization will increase Chinese security while without increasing the perception of threats in other countries. The National Missile Defense (NMD), if the U.S. decides to deploy it, would force China to consider incorporating approaches that would help defeat the defense and this would make the direction of the Chinese nuclear modernization diverge over a big range of possibilities.

Impact of NMD on Chinese nuclear deterrence

The effort of current U.S. missile defense development is focusing on Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). There are five basic types of BMD: (1) pre-launch attack, meaning attacking the missiles before their launch; (2) boost-phase interception, meaning attacking the missiles while they are being accelerated by their rocket boosters; (3) exoatmospheric interception, meaning attacking the missiles or their warheads during midcourse in the upper atmosphere or above it; (4)endo-atmospheric interception, meaning attacking the missiles or their warheads during the reentry phase in the lower, denser atmosphere; (5) civil defense, meaning reducing the effects of the missile attacks by strengthening constructions on the ground or hiding personnel and facilities at safe locations. The U.S. BMD effort covers the first four approaches, which may have different impacts on Chinese nuclear deterrence.

In its history, the U.S. tried several times to acquire a capability to counter ICBM attacks. The U.S. first developed nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) in the 1960s but abandoned them later. In the 1980s, the U.S. attempted to develop layered missile defenses with directed energy and kinetic energy weapons under the Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI), which was believed later to be too ambitious. Because the SDI technology was far from ready and East-West relations improved in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the SDI program shrank. In the Bush Administration, it was changed to a more limited program referred as Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). In the first Clinton Administration, the SDI program officially died and then it was revived in the current BMD programs.

The current U.S. BMD effort can be divided into two major parts. The first is the project to develop Theater Missile Defense (TMD), for which the declared goal is to defend U.S. military bases abroad or its allies against attacks by missiles with ranges less than 3,500 kilometers. The second is the project to develop a National Missile Defense (NMD), for which the declared goal is to defend the U.S. territory against ICBM attacks. To defend the entire United States, the U.S. would have to use exoatmospheric or boost-phase interception. Exoatmospheric defense is the emphasis of the current U.S. NMD project as designed by the Clinton Administration, while boost phase defense has also been proposed for discussion.10 The current TMD project includes lower-tier, upper-tier and boost phase systems. The lower-tier systems, e.g., the Patriot antimissiles, are endo-atmospheric defense systems that can defend only small areas. The upper-tier systems, especially the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) system, could defend a big area in principle, so they could be used to supplement the U.S. NMD if needed.

Before President Clinton decided to leave the decision on NMD deployment for the next president, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) had designed an NMD architecture, calling for initial deployment of interceptors in Alaska. Many Republicans are pushing for a more robust NMD system, while others oppose the idea of NMD based on mid-course interception. At the same time, US-North Korean relations are improving and the perceived DPRK missile threat is declining. All these factors may fundamentally change the structure of NMD. This paper will only consider the Clinton Administration's NMD architecture and analyze its impact on China's nuclear deterrence. This analysis will also be valid if the main technology and structure of the NMD system remains similar in the next administration.

According to the Clinton Administration's NMD system design, the U.S. would deploy ground-based launchers and interceptors at two locations. The interceptors would be equipped with Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles (EKVs) that kill incoming warheads by hitting them at high speed (hit-to-kill). The NMD system is designed to work as follows: the early-warning satellites of the NMD systems detect the launch of a missile by seeing the hot and bright plume from its engine. Once the missile is detected, the control center tells different sensors to track the missile or the warhead and decoys it releases and discriminate them. These sensors include some early-warning radars that would be upgraded to have a tracking capability accurate enough to guide interceptors, some X-band tracking and discrimination radars, and satellite-based infrared tracking sensors. The trajectory information obtained by these sensors would be used to launch and guide interceptors toward the target warhead. After the EKV is released, the infrared sensors on the EKV would guide it to approach the target. To increase the kill probability, several interceptors may be launched towards each target warhead.

According to the current plan, the U.S. would deploy NMD in several phases. In the first development phase, sometimes referred to as capability 1 (C1), the U.S. would deploy one hundred interceptors in Alaska, upgrade existing early warning radars, and deploy a new X-band tracking radar. The goal of this phase is said to be to defend against an attack by a few tens of missiles with simple or no countermeaures. It is noticeable that C1 system was originally designed to have twenty interceptors and to deal with a few ICBMs. Its proposed size and capability was subsequently enlarged to its current level. In the later phases, the U.S. would deploy more radars, low-orbit and high-orbit missile-tracking satellites, more interceptors and would add a new launch site. The stated goals of these phases are to defend against a few tens of missiles with complex countermeasures.

The number of missiles the C1 system is intended to defend against is comparable to the reported size of the whole Chinese long range nuclear force and is obviously larger than the number of the Chinese retaliatory ICBMs. As discussed in the last section, only a few Chinese ICBMs would survive a first U.S. strike and constitute a retaliatory capability if China does not expand the size of its long range nuclear force. So, even a very thin NMD system with very few interceptors would pose a serious threat to the Chinese retaliatory capability. No matter how the U.S. government clarifies its intentions in deploying NMD, many Americans still believe that a NMD designed for "rogue states" would have an inherent capability to defend against Chinese ICBMs.11 Chinese nuclear deterrence depends directly on American perceptions about the Chinese nuclear retaliatory capability. The deployment of NMD would change these perceptions and therefore significantly undermine the Chinese deterrent. Without the backup of NMD, the Americans would always worry about a Chinese retaliation with the few Chinese nuclear weapons that might survive a U.S. first nuclear strike against China. The deployment of a NMD system would provide the American public with an illusion that the several surviving retaliatory Chinese ICBMs would be intercepted by the NMD system - since it is both designed and said to be able to defeat attacks by small numbers of missiles. If the Americans tended to believe that a first nuclear strike plus a NMD system would be able to disarm the Chinese nuclear retaliatory capability, the U.S. could become incautious in risking nuclear exchanges with China in a crisis. It would therefore disturb the strategic stability between China and the U.S and increase the danger of war between the Chinese and American peoples.

China has realized these dangers and its arms control representative, Ambassador Sha Zukang stated that it is evident that the U.S. NMD will seriously undermine the effectiveness of China's limited nuclear capability from the first day of its (NMD) deployment. This can not but cause grave concerns to China."12

The structure of the NMD system designed for the Clinton Administration is obviously East Asia-oriented, especially in its first deployment phase, C1. In the C1 phase, the only new missile tracking radar will be deployed on Shemya, an outpost well located to watch missiles from East Asia, including Russian Siberia, Korea, and China. The only NMD launch site in the C1 and C2 phases would be in Central Alaska, which is much closer to East Asia than to the Middle East or the European part of Russia. This geographical structure provides more time and less required defense range for the interceptors in defending against missiles from East Asia than from other places in the world. This may help the U.S. take a strategy of "shoot-look-shoot" in defending against missiles from East Asia. This strategy could raise the kill probability of the NMD system and allow it to operate in a more efficient way. The East-Asia-emphasized structure of the NMD system could leave the Americans with a strong impression that missiles from East Asia would have little chance to penetrate the U.S. defense.

The above analyses show that the U.S. NMD system proposed by the Clinton Administration, based on its number of interceptors and geographical structure, would have an inherent potential capability to threaten the Chinese retaliatory nuclear force. This would reduce American perceptions of China's nuclear retaliatory capability and undermine Chinese nuclear deterrence. Besides the problem of the designed capability of NMD, the intention behind NMD in the U.S. is also worrying. As the relations between North and South Korea are improving, the voices in the U.S. calling for aiming the NMD at China are getting stronger. This will cause serious concerns in China and the Chinese will have to explore possible responses in their nuclear development if the U.S. decides to deploy NMD.

Requirements for Chinese responses

China is now using its diplomatic resources to influence the U.S. on the NMD matter. The hope is that the U.S. would take China's security concerns into account when it considers NMD deployment. But there is a danger that the U.S. would ignore China's concerns when making its deployment decision. If this happens, China will certainly seek possible approaches that help maintain the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent. As Ambassador Sha Zukang stated, "China has not and will not participate in an arms race with anybody. But neither will we sit on our hands and allow our legitimate security interests to be compromised by any one."13 When China considers the approaches to protect the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrence, it is necessary to apply some requirements to these approaches. Our research indicates that four such requirements are fundamental.

(1) The approaches China takes should be FEASIBLE in helping defeat the U.S NMD. This is a requirement that takes precedence over all others. Judging the feasibility of proposed approaches is sometimes difficult because of the following four reasons: (a) The BMDO has declared that the NMD system would be able to defeat simple and complicated countermeasures as its development proceeds. It is not clear how the NMD would do this based on all the proposed technology; (b) although the technology of the NMD plan proposed by the Clinton Administration is clear, the plan itself is still uncertain. For example, the Republicans are pushing for a stronger missile defenses; (c) China needs to worry about any scientific surprises in NMD development; (d) different organizations in the Chinese defense industry may have different assessments of the feasibility of different approaches. Due to the uncertainty about the feasibility of various approaches, the Chinese government may want to pursue more than one set of approaches in case one does not work.

(2) Some of the approaches should be VISIBLE to the U.S. It is necessary but not sufficient if the Chinese approaches can defeat the U.S. NMD. The reason is that the Chinese deterrence depends on the American perception about the Chinese retaliatory capability rather than its real capability. Thus, some of the Chinese approaches should be visible to the Americans so that they will know that their NMD system will not be able to counter the Chinese retaliatory capability.

(3) The approaches should be AFFORDABLE and not constitute a financial burden on China. China is now concentrating on economic development. It does not want a sharp expansion of military expenditure that would disturb its economic progress. The Chinese government's policy takes economic development as its priority and the policy has strong support from the Chinese people.

(4) The approaches should be MODERATE and not increase perceptions of a "China threat" in other countries. China is now in the process of fully participating in the international community and it needs a peaceful environment for its economic development. In order to continue this peaceful profile, China would prefer approaches that avoid negative consequences in arms control or that would lead to new tensions.

In addition to the above four key requirements, there are some additional factors that could also influence decision-making in selecting possible approaches. These factors are not as critical as the four above, but sometimes they can be important when the potential approaches are assessed in different Chinese organizations. These factors are the following:

(5) The decision makers will prefer approaches that are COMPATIBLE with each other. All approaches applied to the missile defense problem must be compatible with each other. On the other hand, decision makers sometimes prefer competition in the early part of the development process, so incompatible approaches may not be excluded in the early Chinese plans.

(6) Some PRECAUTIONARY approaches are needed. The U.S. BMDO declares that NMD will defeat simple and complicated countermeasures in different development phases. It is not clear how the current NMD technology will do this. So the Chinese would have to worry about some possible scientific surprises. On the other hand, some people in the U.S. are pushing for stronger missile defenses or even a revival of part of the SDI program. The Chinese may want to have some technical preparation for the approaches that can also deal with a stronger missile defense.

(7) Approaches based on CHALLENGING technology could obtain more support. China worries that one of the intentions behind the U.S. NMD is to acquire preemption in military technology in the new century. Chinese scientists would hope that their work could narrow the technical gap between China and the U.S., although some approaches may not be the best option to respond to the U.S. NMD.

The above list is not an exhaustive one. There may be some other factors which could sometimes play a role in determining Chinese responses. For example, if an approach has traditional bases in the Chinese defense industry or dual-use industry, it would have more of a chance to be recognized and recommended by the scientists in those industries. Therefore, it would have a better chance to be chosen by the government. However, these factors may not be as important as the seven described above.

The U.S. development of missile defenses is forcing China to consider taking approaches to protect its nuclear deterrent. This poses some new requirements and challenges for Chinese nuclear development. As discussed in the first section, if there is no missile defense, China needs to worry only about survivability, reliability and safety in its further nuclear development. The appearance of missile defenses would disturb the process and introduce many uncertainties. The next section will comment on different Chinese approaches based on the above listed seven factors.

Comments on possible Chinese responses

Many approaches that could help defeat NMD have been discussed.14 These approaches may be divided into four groups. The first group aims to overwhelm the defense. This could be done by (A) building more ICBMs; (B) MIRVing the Chinese ICBMs to multiply the number of warheads; (C) releasing decoys from the missiles; or (D) dispersing chaff to fool the sensors of the defense. The second group aims to lower the observability of the warheads by applying stealth technology. This group includes: (E) radar stealth, meaning that the radar reflection from the warhead is reduced; and (F) infrared stealth, meaning that the infrared radiation emitted by the warheads is reduced. The third group creates a rivalry between the warheads and the interceptors during the flight, for example, (G) by making the warheads maneuver. The fourth group raises the survivability of the Chinese ICBMs by (H) deploying mobile ICBMs and/or SLBMs; (I) building a missile defense; or (J) putting the Chinese nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert.

There are two very different scenarios in which more ICBMs are built to overwhelm the defense. In the first scenario, China builds more silo-based ICBMs; and in the second scenario, China builds more survivable ICBMs or SLBMs. These two scenarios give very different results.

As discussed in the first section, the current Chinese nuclear deterrent is based on quantitative uncertainty in the minds of its rivals. The NMD would strengthen U.S. confidence about being able to counter Chinese retaliatory capability. If China wants to overwhelm the defense by developing more warheads, the size of its retaliatory force should be larger than the sum of the number of warheads intercepted by the defense and the number of warheads that can produce "intolerable damage". Here we assume that two interceptors are used to kill one warhead, so that a C1 system with 100 interceptors is able to kill 50 warheads. Table 2 gives the number of warheads China needs to overwhelm a C1 or C2 system.
However, if there is no missile defense, China could maintain its nuclear deterrence by keeping some quantitative ambiguity about its nuclear force before it deploys survivable nuclear weapons. If there is a missile defense, the effect of the quantitative uncertainty would be eliminated by the defense. China would then have to seek a credible deterrent. The conclusion is that it is not economic or efficient for China to enlarge its silo-based nuclear force in response to a U.S. NMD deployment. It would be a more reasonable option for China to overwhelm the defense with fully mobile ICBMs or very survivable SLBMs when these technologies are ready. A key problem here is the timing: If China wants to overwhelm the defense with an enlarged nuclear force, China needs to raise the survivability of its nuclear force before the U.S. finishes the deployment of NMD. If Chinese technology cannot be ready in time, or if China chooses to deploy combined modes of its long-range nuclear force, the number of nuclear warheads China needs to overwhelm the defense varies from one hundred to several thousands. This would create a big uncertainty about the future of Chinese nuclear forces.

Enlarging Chinese nuclear forces to overwhelm the defense may have some significant costs for China: (1) it may not be good for China's peaceful profile; (2) it may involve a big financial burden if China chooses to enlarge the silo-based nuclear force; (3) China may need to produce additional fissile materials for the new warheads, especially if China chooses to add silo-based ICBMs. This factor would make China reluctant to join a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) if it wants to keep open the option of such a buildup. Although the costs could be large, the buildup option cannot be ruled out. The reason for this is that the buildup option is so mathematically simple to understand and so certain to work. So, in the Chinese debate this idea would easily win some support from non-technical people. Another advantage is that the buildup would be visible to the outside and would therefore help discourage any first strike against China.

An efficient way to enlarge a nuclear force is to deploy Multiple Independently-targeting Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) if the technology is available. In U.S. efforts to persuade Russia to revise the ABM treaty, one inducement has been to allow Russia to keep its MIRVs. This could encourage China to think about this option. However, for China, MIRVing the silo-based ICBMs is not a good idea because its nuclear force is much smaller than Russia's. MIRVing the survivable ICBMs could be better. But this depends on whether the technology is mature.

Some Chinese articles mention multiple-warheads as countermeasures,15 but they do not always refer to real warheads. So, multiple warheads in these articles could also mean one real warhead plus many decoys. As discussed in a report made by a group of American scientists (UCS/MIT),16 the proposed NMD sensors cannot differentiate the real warhead from anti-simulation decoys during the midcourse of the flight. This technology is not too complicated for China. This means that the deployment of decoys is a much more efficient and simple way than MIRVs for China to defeat the NMD system.

If some metal chaff strands are dispersed around the warheads, they can fool the radars of the defense. This technology should not be difficult for China.

Stealth technology can be used to make the warheads less observable during their flights. For example, the radar reflection of a warhead can be reduced by putting the warhead in a reentry vehicle with a pointed cone-sphere shape or painting the reentry vehicle with radar absorbing materials. This countermeasure is based on not too complicated technology and can reduce the effectiveness of the defense. Another stealth technology, which is discussed in UCS/MIT report, is to reduce the infrared radiation of the warhead by cooling the skin of the warhead. This countermeasure is also based on not-too-complicated technology and can completely defeat the defense.

The only countermeasure mentioned by the Chinese defense industry is the use of a maneuvering warhead.17 To defeat the interceptor, the maneuver capability of the warhead should be comparable to that of the interceptor. So, the warhead needs to detect the approaching interceptor and start its maneuver at an appropriate time; otherwise, the warhead needs to carry a lot of fuel so that it can maneuver continuously. Either option is a challenge to the designers of the warhead. The first option needs very capable sensors on the warhead that can search for approaching interceptors from all possible directions while the latter needs to reduce considerably the weight of the nuclear device so that the re-entry vehicle can carry additional fuel and an engine. To match the maneuver capability of the interceptor, the warhead may need a new design to tolerate off-axis accelerations during maneuvers. This may require new nuclear tests and therefore create difficulties for China to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The result of the competition between the warhead and interceptor is dependent on the competition of technologies of the defensive and offensive sides, and thus difficult to assess.

Raising the survivability of the Chinese nuclear weapons cannot directly defeat the U.S. NMD system; however, it can make some other approaches much more effective and efficient. For example, China would need many fewer nuclear warheads to overwhelm the defense if China can deploy survivable ICBMs rather than silo-based ICBMs. If there is no missile defense, it is the main goal of the Chinese nuclear modernization to build a survivable mobile or/and a sea-based nuclear force. This goal is still important for China even if the factor of a missile defense is added.

So-called 'point' missile defenses protecting missile silos may also help raise the survivability of Chinese ICBMs. However, the technology is very challenging and the cost is very high.

Another approach to increasing nuclear weapon survivability is to put the Chinese nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. This would mean that China would need to launch its nuclear weapons after it detects a nuclear attack but before the incoming nuclear weapons arrive. This strategy is called "launch on warning" and was cited as a destabilizing factor by American negotiators to their Russian counterparts in their consultations on the ABM Treaty.18 This approach requires advanced and reliable early-warning systems, which China may not currently possess.

The above discussions show that there is not one simple choice for China in responding to U.S. NMD deployment. All approaches discussed above and maybe some others would be considered by Chinese decision-makers. An assessment of the priorities of different options for China would be very difficult because the very strict and different requirements listed in the last section may produce different judgements. The competition among these approaches would lead to a big range of uncertainties in China's nuclear modernization.

Possible Arms Control Responses

China is making diplomatic efforts to dissuade the U.S. from deploying NMD in both bilateral and multilateral forums. In bilateral exchanges, China has expressed its concerns over NMD through official visits and "track two" meetings that include both governmental and non-governmental officials. These bilateral dialogues have helped the two countries understand each other's positions and concerns and are laying the base for possible resolution of the dispute over the NMD issue.

China has also spoken out against NMD at two major multilateral meetings. The first was at the First Committee of the United Nations (UN), where China endorsed the Russian proposal to sustain the ABM treaty, a proposal that won the overwhelming support of the UN members. The second forum is the Conference on Disarmament (CD), where China is trying to initiate a negotiation on the prohibition of weapons targeting outer space. In addition to the UN and CD, China also outlines its concerns over NMD (or TMD that could supplement NMD) at several regional forums.19 Chinese diplomats have talked more and more with the western news media, thereby providing more transparency on China's positions to the American people.

If this diplomatic effort fails, however, China would make some responses in the area of arms control in addition to its responses in nuclear development.

NMD deployment would harm Chinese confidence in arms control. Before China gradually opened its door to the world in the early 1980s, it was skeptical of the utility and effectiveness of international efforts in global arms control and it did not believe that the superpowers would be faithful to their commitments when they feel that they have the power to break them. As it has been involved more and more in international arms control regimes and negotiations, China has learned the importance of participation in international cooperation on arms control and has become very active in this area. U.S. attempts to modify or withdraw from the ABM treaty are reviving old doubts in China about whether the U.S. will be faithful to its arms control commitments and about the sustainability of international arms control cooperation. The Chinese would worry that participating in arms control would reduce, not strengthen, China's self-defense capabilities. In conclusion, China could become less cooperative with the U.S. in the area of arms control and non-proliferation if the U.S. finally revises or abandons the ABM treaty.

As discussed in the last section, some approaches may add difficulties for Chinese participation in arms control. For example, China may need some additional fissile materials to saturate the defense by building more nuclear weapons, especially silo-based ICBMs. It will be difficult for China to accept a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, one that puts a ceiling on the size of the Chinese nuclear force and makes China lose an option for countering the NMD, even though China may not take such an option immediately. Another concern would add to the difficulty of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In China, there have been some voices arguing that China lost too much in signing the CTBT.20 If some Chinese feel that a few more nuclear tests are required to develop countermeasures like the maneuvering warhead discussed above, the voices opposing the CTBT would certainly become stronger in China.

In the non-proliferation area, China would become less interested in legally accepting the MTCR, including its annexes, as China's export control law if the U.S. does not respond to China's concern over NMD. The U.S. would become less influential in dissuading China to cut its cooperation with some countries if China believes that such cooperation is consistent with existing international law. In the area of nuclear disarmament, NMD will become a new and serious obstacle that blocks China from considering joining global nuclear reduction efforts.