President-elect Barack Obama plans to resume scientist exchanges between U.S. nuclear-weapons laboratories and Chinese facilities, a program halted in the late 1990s after the loss of U.S. nuclear-warhead secrets to China.
Mr. Obama stated in an interview with Arms Control Today magazine that in addition to continuing efforts to hold a strategic nuclear dialogue with China, he wants to “resume laboratory-to-laboratory exchanges that were terminated in the 1990s.”
By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
The laboratory-exchange program during the 1990s is blamed by U.S. intelligence and security officials for leading to a strategic espionage failure. China’s communist government used the program to target U.S. nuclear scientists under an elaborate program of intelligence “elicitation” – meeting lab weapons designers in conferences and hotels in China and seeking classified data through question-and-answer sessions.
Mr. Obama said he supports continuing military exchanges with China that were halted by Beijing in response to the October announcement by the Pentagon of a long-delayed $6.5 billion arms package for Taiwan.
“I will urge China to increase transparency of its nuclear weapons policies and programs – indeed, of its military and defense policies more generally,” Mr. Obama stated. “We are not enemies. I will engage the Chinese leadership in discussions that convey how greater openness in military spending and nuclear force modernization is consistent with China’s and the United States’ national interests and more likely to lead to greater trust and understanding.”
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