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U.S. Works With China On Nuke Security

Brooks told reporters "to the best of my knowledge, not only is it the first demonstration of this kind in China, its first demonstration of this kind that we've done with anyone."

Beijing (UPI) Nov 14, 2005
Linton Brooks, administrator of the Department of Energy's nuclear security watchdog told reporters Tuesday about a groundbreaking project in Sino-U.S. cooperation.

Ambassador Brooks heads DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, also serves as undersecretary of energy for nuclear security. His responsibilities include the design, safety and security of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. He is also in charge of bilateral and multilateral foreign cooperation arrangements pursuant to non-proliferation and nuclear safety and protection.

The Bush administration's efforts to increase global security against the threat of nuclear materials being stolen, sabotaged or diverted includes an initiative to form a partnership with the People's Republic of China to modernize its security practices and technologies deployed at civilian nuclear facilities. There is no military to military nuclear relationship between the U.S. and China at this time.

The U.S.-China 2005 Integrated Nuclear Material Management Technology Demonstration running Monday to Friday this week includes joint technical work on hardware, software, system design and installation for a storage facility at the China Institute for Atomic Energy as well as workshops on vulnerability assessment and nondestructive assay, plus personnel, training and site visit exchanges.

Brooks told reporters "to the best of my knowledge, not only is it the first demonstration of this kind in China, its first demonstration of this kind that we've done with anyone."

On site demonstrations in Beijing include physical protection, nuclear material control and accounting, and safeguard technologies. The total cost of the project is $6 million. The United States and China have agreed to share costs. Both countries provided equipment and technical support with Washington's support in the form of $900,000 in equipment. Brooks said some hardware was returning to the United States at the end of the event.

The NNSA administrator noted the situation was quite different in discussions with China compared with Russia, "in that much of our efforts with Russia over the past 10 years have been in the form of assistance, wherein in China we're looking at more of a cooperative partnership."

This has resulted in improvements to some facilities but more importantly an opportunity to train our Chinese colleagues in some of the techniques that technology makes available. Technical work was done by American National Laboratories working with the Chinese Atomic Energy Institute. We see this as important in itself, but also a springboard to greater cooperation with China on the technical aspects of non-proliferation: material protection, export control and other areas.

Foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan, commenting on the state of non-proliferation cooperation with the United States replied: "Non-proliferation has been a priority area for cooperation between the two countries with leaders maintaining contact and exchanges of views on this issue."

He described bilateral cooperation as "fruitful" saying China "looks forward to further collaboration and joint efforts with the United States in enhancing non-proliferation cooperation.

Asked about American criticism of export controls and accusations of proliferation of nuclear technology in the past and what were the proper channels to address U.S. concerns Kong stated: "concerns or accusations about the efforts of China on non-proliferation are not based on the facts."

"These remarks are irresponsible; everybody knows that China has formulated a series of very strict regulations and laws on non-proliferation and export control. These regulations are in line with international standards. We have always followed laws and every violation will be punished." Kong promised.

On non-proliferation we will continue to make our effort on export control. We also would hope that we can work with the international community on an equal footing in non-proliferation.

Regarding concerns in the United States about export items by Chinese firms, Kong said his government opposed punitive measures taken by the U.S. because it "does not follow international practice in punishing Chinese enterprises.

Kong said the U.S. should refrain from actions "so as to develop China-U.S. relations on the basis of mutual benefit and equal footing." If the U.S. finds firms violating export regulations on non-proliferation, China wants the evidence turned over so that "justice will be served and their actions punished according to the relevant (Chinese) regulations and laws."

Analysts believe the approach of the Bush administration embodied in the NNSA's ongoing mission will succeed so long as eyes stay on the prize of beefing up a partnership on Chinese civilian nuclear facility security.

From the Chinese perspective, other non-proliferation goals such as tightening export controls are better handled through back channels rather than going public with a first time offending individual or export business unit, however China should be prepared to lose face when repeat offenders are caught.

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OECD Urges China To Close Farm Income Gap, Safeguard Environment
Beijing (AFP) Nov 14, 2005
China must narrow the large income gap between its rural and urban populations and improve the environmental sustainability of its agricultural sector, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Monday.

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