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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Houston, Texas)
For Immediate Release                                        May 7, 1999


Administration Response to Report on China Satellite Launch

The Administration has reviewed the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), entitled "Report on Impacts to U.S. National Security of Advanced Satellite Technology Exports to the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Report on the PRC's Efforts to Influence U.S. Policy."

We agree with the Committee that the United States should not assist China's ballistic missile program in connection with Chinese launches of U.S. commercial communications satellites. This has been U.S. policy since 1988, when President Reagan first authorized the use of Chinese launch services.

This Administration, like previous Administrations, has not authorized the transfer of any technology to assist China's ballistic missile program. However, we share the Committee's concern that unauthorized assistance and transfers of technology relevant to space launch vehicles and ballistic missiles may have occurred during certain space launch failure analyses. The Department of Justice is investigating these allegations to determine if any violations of U.S. export control regulations have occurred. We also agree with the Committee's finding that there is no evidence that these unauthorized technology transfers have been incorporated into China's currently deployed ICBM force, which was developed and deployed before U.S. satellites were approved for export to China.

We are concerned, as is the Committee, that unauthorized assistance and transfers of space launch vehicle and satellite technology could assist China in the development of future ballistic missiles. We agree with the Committee that China's indigenous work and improvements derived from non-U.S. foreign sources make it difficult to detect with precision to what extent technology transfers from U.S. sources may have helped China. The Committee believes that assistance from non-U.S. foreign sources probably is more important for the Chinese ballistic missile development program than the technical knowledge gained during U.S. satellite launch campaigns.

We concur with the majority of the Committee's recommendations, and note that the Administration is already implementing many of these actions. In particular, we support the actions suggested to improve the monitoring of foreign launches of U.S. satellites, to better inform U.S. industry of its obligations regarding U.S. export control laws and regulations, to improve the timeliness and transparency of the satellite licensing process, and to report to Congress. We also agree with the need for a strong Intelligence Community role in the export licensing process.

The Administration believes that the longstanding policy of permitting the launch of U.S. commercial satellites by China, with strong technology controls, serves our overall national interest. We will continue to work with Congress on this important issue.

The Committee report raises a number of issues related to intelligence and "Chinese Efforts to Influence U.S. Policy." We defer to the Director of Central Intelligence and the Director, FBI to respond to the Committee on these very specific matters concerning collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence.

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