U.S. Senator Seeks to Prevent Use of Chinese Technology in NATO Missile Shield

Senator Mark Kirk, center, greeted by Vice President Joe Biden upon his return to the Senate in January. The Illinois Republican is offering an amendment to defense legislation that could effectively block integration of Chinese-built interceptor components into NATO's missile shield.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire
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Rachel Oswald, Global Security Newswire
Nov. 20, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

WASH­ING­TON — A meas­ure pro­posed on Tues­day in the U.S. Sen­ate would pro­hib­it Wash­ing­ton from fin­an­cially sup­port­ing the in­teg­ra­tion of a Chinese mis­sile sys­tem with U.S. tech­no­logy that is to play an es­sen­tial role in an evolving NATO de­fens­ive shield.

The amend­ment to the Sen­ate ver­sion of the fisc­al 2014 de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill, offered by Sen­at­or Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), per­tains to a pos­sible Turk­ish ef­fort to buy an an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem from Beijing.

If ad­op­ted by the Sen­ate and ul­ti­mately moved in­to law, the pro­vi­sion would pro­hib­it any ap­pro­pri­ated mon­ies from be­ing spent “to in­teg­rate mis­sile de­fense sys­tems of the People’s Re­pub­lic of China in­to United States mis­sile de­fense sys­tems.”

The amend­ment also of­fers a sep­ar­ate “sense of Con­gress” that Chinese an­ti­mis­sile sys­tems “should not be in­teg­rated” with the NATO bal­list­ic-mis­sile shield.

It is not known when the amend­ment might come up for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Sen­ate, which is cur­rently de­bat­ing the au­thor­iz­a­tion bill. Once the up­per cham­ber passes the de­fense le­gis­la­tion, it will have to be meshed in con­fer­ence com­mit­tee with a House ver­sion — passed by that cham­ber in June — be­fore be­ing sent to the White House for the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture.

Kirk and a num­ber of oth­er Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors have raised con­cerns about a pos­sible de­cision by NATO ally Tur­key to pur­chase the FD-2000 an­ti­mis­sile sys­tem pro­duced by a Chinese gov­ern­ment-con­trolled com­pany that is un­der U.S. sanc­tions for vi­ol­at­ing the 2006 Ir­an, North Korea and Syr­ia Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Act.

A Pentagon spokes­man on Wed­nes­day said the De­fense De­part­ment would not com­ment on pending le­gis­la­tion.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and NATO lead­ers have pub­li­cized their con­cerns that the Chinese tech­no­logy will not be com­pat­ible with oth­er al­li­ance mem­ber states’ mis­sile de­fense tech­no­logy. Those sys­tems are in­ten­ded to be in­teg­rated with each oth­er, in ac­cord­ance with a plan to es­tab­lish a com­pre­hens­ive anti-bal­list­ic mis­sile cap­ab­il­ity for Europe.

There are also wor­ries that Chinese de­velopers might in­stall di­git­al back­doors in­to the FD-2000 so they can gain ac­cess to clas­si­fied NATO data and mil­it­ary plans.

The United States is sup­ply­ing the bulk of the in­ter­cept­ors, radars and oth­er tech­no­logy planned for use in the NATO mis­sile shield. For that reas­on, it is un­clear wheth­er Chinese tech­no­logy could be in­teg­rated in­to the al­li­ance’s frame­work if it is pro­hib­ited by the U.S. gov­ern­ment from be­ing con­nec­ted to U.S. de­fens­ive sys­tems.

Kirk and a num­ber of oth­er GOP sen­at­ors in a let­ter sent last month to the Pentagon and the State De­part­ment urged the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to “en­sure NATO will nev­er al­low such a sys­tem to be in­teg­rated in­to NATO’s se­cur­ity ar­chi­tec­ture.”

State De­part­ment spokes­wo­man Jen Psaki on Tues­day told re­port­ers that Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry in a Monday meet­ing with his vis­it­ing Turk­ish coun­ter­part, Ah­met Dav­u­to­glu, “re­it­er­ated our con­cerns and the im­port­ance of pro­cur­ing a NATO in­ter­op­er­able sys­tem.”

In re­sponse to the up­roar, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has said it has not made a fi­nal de­cision on ac­quir­ing the FD-2000. Ank­ara has in­vited European and Amer­ic­an de­fense con­tract­ors to sweeten their pro­pos­als for provid­ing Tur­key with a na­tion­al mis­sile-de­fense cap­ab­il­ity that could be in­teg­rated in­to the NATO shield.

An uniden­ti­fied seni­or U.S. dip­lo­mat in the Turk­ish cap­it­al told De­fense News this week that any Turk­ish com­pan­ies that be­come sub­con­tract­ors to the China Pre­ci­sion Ma­chinery Im­port and Ex­port Corp. in build­ing the FD-2000 could be pen­al­ized by the U.S. gov­ern­ment for work­ing with the black­lis­ted or­gan­iz­a­tion.

“Turk­ish en­tit­ies to be in­volved in this pro­gram in part­ner­ship with [the Chinese firm] CP­MIEC would be denied ac­cess to any use of U.S. tech­no­logy or equip­ment in re­la­tion to this pro­gram,” the en­voy re­portedly said.

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