Defense: China has just tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that can deliver up to 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads, using technology given to them on President Clinton's watch to launch communications satellites.
The Dec. 13 test of the DF-41 was the third for the new weapon. But it marked the first test of a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, or MIRV, technology and raises by an order of magnitude the nuclear threat to the U.S. as China continues its massive arms buildup. And disturbingly, the threat is in large part of our own making.
"The DF-4, which could be deployed as early as 2015, may carry up to 10 MIRVs, and have a range as far as 7,456 miles, allowing it to target the entire continental United States," according to the latest report produced for Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
"China could use MIRVs to deliver nuclear warheads on major U.S. cities and military facilities as a means of overwhelming (existing) U.S. ballistic missile defenses," the report added.
We now have 30 ground-based interceptors (GBI) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Fort Greely in Alaska. In March 2013, the Obama administration, which previously scaled back Bush administration plans for GBI deployment in the U.S., reluctantly announced plans for an additional 14 at Greely in response to the threat from North Korea.
China's missile threat has grown with the aid of U.S. technology, some stolen but much provided willingly by a U.S. at times deluded by the notion that making nice with our enemies and trading with them will somehow make them less dangerous.
A report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) dated Dec. 10, 1996, notes that China's MIRV technology is likely an offshoot of a "smart dispenser" for launching multiple satellites developed by China under a contract with Motorola to launch its Iridium communications satellites. This technology transfer was approved by the Clinton administration.
According to the 1996 report, "a minimally modified (smart dispenser) stage could be used on a ballistic missile as a multiple-re-entry vehicle post-boost vehicle" that could be used for multiple warheads "with relatively minor changes." That strategic chicken has now come home to roost.
Another instance of missile technology transfer to China under the Clinton administration aided the development of the Chinese Long March series of missiles, a mainstay of its space program, technology also put to good use in the development of its ICBMs.
The Long March has proved a reliable Chinese launch vehicle, but it wasn't always so. After the failed launch of a satellite built by Loral Space & Communications Ltd. attached to a Chinese rocket in 1996, Loral provided 200 pages of data to China's Great Wall Industry Corp. to correct the guidance system problems of their Long March rockets, which blew up 75% of the time.
Such data, also applicable to the guidance system of ICBMs, were previously banned from export for national security reasons after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacres until President Clinton granted a waiver. Loral Chairman Bernard L. Schwartz gave $1.5 million to the Democratic Party in 1996.
A May 1997 classified Pentagon report concluded that Loral had "turned over expertise that significantly improved China's nuclear missiles" and that as a result "United States national security has been harmed." According to the Pentagon, the technology that improved the Long March satellite launcher has also made the Dong Feng ICBM series more lethal.
It may be the ultimate irony that with seemingly everything we buy at the mall being "made in China," the Chinese missile threat was made right here in the good ol' USA.
Read more at Investor's Business Daily. Related: China Goes to Sesame Street (2007).