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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues


Shirley A. Kan
Specialist in Asian Security Affairs

Congress has long been concerned about whether U.S. policy advances the national interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of China’s technology reportedly include Pakistan and countries said by the State Department to have supported terrorism, such as Iran. This CRS Report, updated as warranted, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid- 1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, supplies from China have aggravated trends that result in ambiguous technical aid, more indigenous capabilities, longer-range missiles, and secondary (retransferred) proliferation. According to unclassified intelligence reports submitted as required to Congress, China has been a “key supplier” of technology, particularly PRC entities providing nuclear and missile-related technology to Pakistan and missile-related technology to Iran.

Policy approaches in seeking PRC cooperation have concerned summits, sanctions, and satellite exports. On November 21, 2000, the Clinton Administration agreed to waive missile proliferation sanctions, resume processing licenses to export satellites to China, and discuss an extension of the bilateral space launch agreement, in return for another PRC promise on missile nonproliferation. However, PRC proliferation activities have continued to raise questions about China’s commitment to nonproliferation and the need for U.S. sanctions. The Bush Administration imposed sanctions on 20 occasions on various PRC “entities” (including state-owned entities) for troublesome transfers related to missiles and chemical weapons to Pakistan, Iran, or perhaps another country, including repeated sanctions on some “serial proliferators.” Among those sanctions, in September 2001, the Administration imposed missile proliferation sanctions that effectively denied satellite exports, after a PRC company transferred technology to Pakistan, despite the promise of 2000. In September 2003, the State Department imposed additional sanctions on NORINCO, a defense industrial entity, effectively denying satellite exports to China. However, for six times, the State Department waived this sanction for the ban on imports of other PRC government products related to missiles, space systems, electronics, and military aircraft, and issued a permanent waiver in 2007. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has imposed sanctions on nine occasions on multiple PRC entities for missile or other weapon proliferation.

Skeptics question whether China’s cooperation in weapons nonproliferation warrants the U.S. pursuit of closer ties, even as sanctions were required against PRC technology transfers. Some criticize the imposition of U.S. sanctions targeting PRC “entities” but not the government. Others doubt the effectiveness of any stress on sanctions over diplomacy. Meanwhile, in 2002-2008, the U.S. approach relied on China’s influence on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons. Beijing hosted the “Six-Party Talks” (last held in December 2008) with limited results. China’s approach evolved to vote for some U.N. Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran. Some still called for engaging more with Beijing to use its leverage against Pyongyang and Tehran. However, North Korea’s second nuclear test in 2009 and military attacks against South Korea in 2010 prompted greater debate about the value of China’s roles. After much diplomacy, the PRC voted in June 2009 for UNSC Resolution 1874 to expand sanctions previously imposed under Resolution 1718 in 2006 against North Korea and voted in June 2010 for UNSC Resolution 1929 for the fourth set of sanctions against Iran. Also, concerns increased that China expanded nuclear cooperation with Pakistan and could capitalize in oil/gas energy deals in Iran as others enforce unilateral sanctions. Relevant legislation include sanctions against Iran in P.L. 111-195 and P.L. 112-81, and S.Con.Res. 12.



Date of Report:
March 30, 2012
Number of Pages:
84
Order Number: R
L31555
Price: $29.95

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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Republic of the Philippines and U.S. Interests


Thomas Lum
Specialist in Asian Affairs

The United States and the Republic of the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from the U.S. colonial period (1898-1946), the bilateral security alliance, extensive military cooperation, and common strategic and economic interests. Although the United States closed its military bases in the Philippines in 1992, the two treaty allies have continued joint military activities related to counterterrorism and maritime security. The bilateral security relationship has gained prominence as a key link in the evolving U.S. foreign policy “pivot” or “rebalancing” toward Asia, and the two sides are discussing bolstering U.S. access to Philippine military facilities. On November 16, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario signed the “Manila Declaration,” which reaffirmed the bilateral security relationship and called for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes in the region.

Broad U.S. policy objectives include the following: maintaining the U.S.-Philippine alliance; enhancing security and stability in the South China Sea; assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in counterterrorism, maritime, modernization, and administrative reform efforts; supporting the peace process in Muslim areas of Mindanao; promoting broad-based economic growth; and helping the Philippines to develop more stable and responsive democratic institutions. The U.S. Congress has placed conditions upon a portion of U.S. military assistance to the Philippines in order to pressure the Philippine government and judicial institutions to hold the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and violence against journalists accountable.

Since 2002, the United States has provided non-combat assistance to the AFP through the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines—rotating units of approximately 600 U.S. military personnel. Philippine-U.S. counterterrorism efforts, along with development aid, have helped to significantly reduce the size and strength of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a violent, Philippines-based Islamist organization that has acted as a bridge between Southeast Asian terrorist networks and Muslim separatist insurgencies such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In the past decade, the Philippines has been one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in Southeast Asia. About 60% of the aid supported development programs in Muslim areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, with the aim of mitigating the economic and political conditions that make extremist ideologies and activities attractive. In 2010, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation approved a five-year, $434 million compact with the Philippine government. Through the Partnership for Growth, the United States supports economic expansion and investment in the Philippines and Manila’s goal of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement.

In 2011, Chinese naval forces reportedly harassed Philippine fishing and oil exploration vessels and erected structures in disputed waters of the South China Sea near the Philippine island of Palawan. Philippine President Benigno Aquino responded in part by announcing increases in the country’s military budget and welcoming increased security cooperation with the United States. The Philippine government has demanded that Beijing negotiate a code of conduct and settlement of claims with the principal regional body, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The U.S. government does not take a position on the territorial disputes, but supports a peaceful resolution that is based upon international law and involves a multilateral process. Washington also has promised greater military cooperation with, and assistance to, the Philippines, although no permanent U.S. bases are planned.



Date of Report: April
5, 2012
Number of Pages:
36
Order Number: R
L33233
Price: $29.95

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Burma’s April Parliamentary By-Elections


Michael F. Martin
Specialist in Asian Affairs

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) is scheduled to hold parliamentary by-elections on April 1, 2012. Depending on the conduct of the election and the official election results, the Obama Administration may seek to alter policy towards Burma, possibly including the waiver or removal of some current sanctions. Such a shift may require congressional action, or may be done using executive authority granted by existing laws.

The by-elections originally were to fill 46 vacant seats in Burma’s national parliament (out of a total of 664 seats) and 2 seats in local parliaments. On March 23, the Union Election Commission postponed voting for three seats from the Kachin State for security reasons. A total of 17 political parties are running candidates in the by-elections, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The by-elections are viewed as significant primarily because of the decision by the NLD to compete for the vacant seats.

The NLD and others allege that some Burmese officials and the USDP are taking steps to disrupt the NLD’s campaign and possibly win the by-elections by fraudulent means. Despite these problems, events at which Aung San Suu Kyi speaks routinely draw tens of thousands of people. In response to international pressure, the Union Government has invited the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the European Union (EU), the United Nations, and the United States to send election observers. The State Department has said it intends to accept the offer.

Although largely free and fair by-elections would be a significant development, the current political situation in Burma remains a source of serious concern for U.S. policy makers. Hundreds of political prisoners remain in detention. Despite ceasefire talks, fighting between the Burmese military and various ethnic militias continues, resulting in a new flow of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees into nearby countries. Reports of severe human rights abuses by the Burmese military against civilians in conflict areas regularly appear in the international press.

The response of the Obama Administration to Burma’s by-elections will depend on the conduct of the campaign, the balloting process, the veracity of the official election results, and possibly on how the winners of the elections are treated once they become members of Burma’s parliaments. In addition, the response of opposition parties (particularly the NLD and its chairperson, Aung San Suu Kyi), other nations and the EU to the by-elections may influence the U.S. response.

Under current law, President Barack Obama has the authority to waive many—but not all—of the existing sanctions on Burma, and he may choose to exercise that authority following the byelections. Alternatively, the White House may ask Congress to consider legislation removing or altering some the existing sanctions. For its own part, Congress may decide to re-examine U.S. policy towards Burma and make whatever changes it deems appropriate.

For additional information on Burma, see CRS Report R41971, U.S. Policy Towards Burma: Issues for the 112th Congress; CRS Report R41336, U.S. Sanctions on Burma; and CRS Report R42363, Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions. The report will be updated following the announcement of the official results of the by-elections, and as circumstances warrant.



Date of Report: March 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R42438
Price: $29.95

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