Sunday, October 23, 2005

North Korean Companies Who Export Nuclear Technology Face New Curbs

While North Korea signed an agreement just last month in Beijing to supposedly end their nuclear arms program, at least 8 North Korean firms have continued to spread nuclear technology around the world. In a welcome move, the Bush Administration is cracking down on this nuclear technology proliferation. However, the major threat from North Korea was the major arms market in conventional arms such as the Nodobnng missiles. These have been converted by Pakistan into nuclear missiles. And Iran has undertaken a program to provide a longer range motor for these North Korean designed missiles just within the last couple of months, dramaticly extending their range to 2,000 kilometers, from the previous 1,300 kilometer limited range.

However the far larger and more serious issue of Chinese nuclear technology transfer to states like Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria was largely ignored by the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and second Bush Administrations. For political and trade reasons, China was given more freedom than some other states to trade in nuclear technology transfers. In fact, the U.S. has even offered a recent tax credit proposal to an American corporation that will assist the CNNC with development of nuclear reactors in China. And this is despite the fact that the CNNC has long been responsible for nuclear technology transfers according to U.S. intelligence.

The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation(CNNC) which is responsible for both civilian and military nuclear technology, both for China's industrial energy needs, as well as the nuclear arms force of the People's Liberation Army, has been able to transfer substantial amounts of nuclear technology to mainly MidEast states, much of it dual use technology.

Pakistan received the largest amount of nuclear weapons technology assistance from China. During the Reagan Administration while the Soviet Union was singled out as the "Evil Empire", China was able to provide a complete nuclear weapon design to Pakistan. By 1986, Chinese scientists assisted Dr. Khan's research laboratories with nuclear weapons design assistance. And in 1987, Chinese scientists assisted Pakistan's nuclear weapons testing program.

Later in the Clinton Administration some efforts to prevent some CNNC nuclear technology transfers were finally begun. But other efforts of the IAEA, were effective at preventing some serious transfers of nuclear technology. But with the aid that Pakistan has previously received, it has provided assistance to some other states such as Iran. Iran may now have as many as 20,000 high speed centrifuges needed to enrich uranium.

A serious threat to the American aircraft carriers is the transfer of many antiship missiles by China to Iran. These could be easily retrofitted with nuclear warheads thanks to the wide range of nuclear technology that china previously supplied Iran along with other vital recent nuclear technology from Pakistan.

Any attempt to prevent the proliferation of weapons oriented nuclear technology and arms is most welcome. However it is more likely than not that the genie is a out of the bottle, and any late efforts to limit worldwide proliferation may be too late. Pakistan or some other state now seems willing to provide nuclear assistance for a price to any state that desires nuclear arms.


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