China Seeks U.S. Military Aid
October 4, 2001
[June 2001 meetings with Chinese Air Force in wake of EP-3 downing New FOIA documents.] Newly released documents show that U.S. Air Force officials met with Chinese military officers in June 2001 to discuss U.S. possible military aid for China.
According to documents, the meetings took place inside China despite the "policy issues surrounding the (at that time unresolved) EP-3 situation."
The newly released documents show that Chinese Air Force and Chinese Navy officials requested U.S. Defense Dept. assistance in "how to improve military ATC (air traffic control) and logistics support."
The documents noted that the Chinese military is seeking U.S. equipment and training to improve ATC or "air traffic control" inside the People's Republic of China. The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operate aircraft control inside China. The Chinese civil air traffic system is a key element of PLAAF air defense. The documents show that China expressed interest in training military officers in the United States.
"What is available in the U.S., in addition to the FAA Academy?" states the June 2001 trip report. "Interested in foreign specialists' conducting workshop/training in China - U.S. side suggested possibly tapping AID or similar resources to use FAA retirees for this purpose."
CHINESE AIR FORCE TO VISIT USA THIS MONTH The newly released documents also noted that the Chinese Air Force would be visiting America in October 2001. The documents state that Chinese military is scheduled to travel to the United States the "week of October 29 - November 2, 2001" for meetings with the U.S. Air Force and FAA.
Defense analysts are concerned that the Bush administration may be willing to offer China sophisticated military air control systems, radars, and computers in an effort to bribe Beijing to join the U.S. war on terrorism.
"Note that three nations currently under the gun for working with Osama bin Laden, Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, are all Chinese client states," pointed out one Pentagon analyst who requested that he not be identified.
"The last time we (the U.S.) shipped China advanced technology; the PLA re-exported the technology to Iraq as the 'Tiger Song' air defense system. If you want to stack 2,000 combat aircraft over the Taiwan Strait during an invasion, you must have advanced air traffic control systems," noted the defense analyst.
The newly released documents were obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration through the use of the Freedom of Information Act. Portions of the documents were blacked out and with-held from public release by the FAA because "to allow release of these records would discourage open and frank discussions between agency employees, which are helpful in forming our relationship with China."
The FAA documents noted that over seventy Chinese officials participated in the June 2001 meetings, including Senior Colonel Xing Shuyuan and Lt. Colonel Wang Shouxing from the PLAAF.
"The U.S. side observed that although the Chinese briefs contained little new information, and covered 'what' they do as opposed to 'how' they do it, the U.S. side achieved its goal of conveying information to an extended Chinese audience. For example, the PLAAF office in charge of air traffic facilities from Jinan, Shandong, Lanzhou, Xi'an, Shenyang, Nanjing and Beijing were among those who attended. PLAN participation appeared to be limited to Beijing-based staff."
The U.S. teams were taken on a tour of Chinese air control facilities at Shenyang along the North Korean border.
"The facility communicates with North Korea and other adjacent facilities via satellite phone, fax or International Direct Dial. The air traffic equipment was Alenia."
TRAINING FOR COMBAT READINESS The newly released documentation matches with information previously obtained from the FAA showing Chinese military officers took tours of the United States. According to the documents, PLAAF officers toured Edwards Air Force Base in May 1999 for military purposes. The PLAAF officers were given training on USAF combat missions, including "bombing and strafing" and "combat readiness."
One U.S. Air Force May 1999 report noted the PLAAF was given information on USAF "Special Airspace" areas inside America used for military training, research and national security zones. The details include Edwards Air Force base and a mapped tour of the facility. Edwards AFB is a test center for USAF, and NASA research aircraft, including the space shuttle.
In 1999, the Clinton administration offered the PLAAF the latest in advanced "mobile radars", command and control systems, GPS navigation, and "Surveillance Avionics" such as "Air to Air", "Air to Ground" and "surface Area Movement" surveillance radars.