Chinese Firms Aiding Pakistani Ballistic Missile Work: Cables

Newly leaked U.S. State Department cables indicate that a number of Chinese firms have sold or attempted to sell equipment to Pakistan that could be used to improve its ballistic missiles, the Indian Express reported on Sunday (see GSN, July 14).

U.S. diplomatic dispatches published by the transparency group WikiLeaks show repeated efforts in recent years by U.S. diplomats to convince the Chinese government to move more decisively to stop the export to the nuclear-armed South Asian state of equipment capable of being used in the development of ballistic missiles.

A January 2007 cable discusses the planned sale by the Chinese company Jinan Metal Forming Machinery Engineering Co. to export ring-rolling equipment to Pakistan’s ballistic missile development program. While the ring-rolling machine was not covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime, its use by Pakistan was in question, as it could be utilized to produce “stiffener rings for ballistic missile airframes and in the production of solid rocket motor cases,” the cable states.

A September 2007 cable details how the United States was able to learn a guarantee of financing had been issued to Jinan Metal Forming to aid the sale of machinery to Pakistan’s National Development Complex, which is responsible for work on the Shaheen class of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

Another Chinese company in February 2009 marketed to Pakistan’s Aginel Enterprises the sale of 2,200 pounds of specialty steel that has been utilized in “components of Pakistan’s Ghaznavi short-range ballistic missile,” the U.S. State Department said.

U.S. officials in July 2009 questioned the Russian government about a planned sale by the Russian company Optolink to the Chinese firm, Beijing Comfort Technology and Development Co., of “three-axis rotation and single-axis gyroscopes.” The United States believed the Chinese firm was a shell company whose purpose was to procure equipment for Pakistan’s cruise missile program.

In a July 2009 dispatch, U.S. envoys informed Beijing that another Chinese company, Beijing Jingda Zhiyuan Technologies Development, was attempting to export to a Pakistani missile entity carbon fiber covered by the Nuclear Suppliers Groups and the Missile Technology Control Regime (Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express, Sept. 12).