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Relaxing The Tiananmen Arms Embargos: Still A Bad Idea

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by Richard Fisher, Jr.
Published on October 18th, 2010

When White Houses want to suppress the effects of controversial pronouncements, they release them late on Friday afternoons.  So it was on 8 October 2010, when the White House Press Office web page posted a brief letter from President Barack Obama to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Its operative sentence was:

“I hereby report to the Congress that it is in the national interest of the United States to terminate the suspensions under section 902(a)(3) of the Act with respect to the issuance of temporary munitions export licenses for exports to the People's Republic of China insofar as such restrictions pertain to the C-130 cargo aircraft to be used in oil spill response operations at sea.”[1]

Though seemingly minor at first glance, this letter represents a  new turn in the long string of attempts, usually by Presidents, to relax laws that imposed an embargo on arms sales to China following the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. Previous waivers have been issued by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to allow the launches of U.S.-made satellites on Chinese rockets during the 1990’s; and, in recent years, the sale of civilian helicopters and Chinese co-production of U.S. vehicles that are used by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP).[2]  For example, under the rubric of counter-terrorism cooperation, U.S. companies can sell Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) systems that are far more effective for suppressing large protests, such as have happened recently in Tibet and Xinjiang, where China routinely suppresses legitimate dissent.[3] This, in turn, allows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to avoid accountability and reform, the lack of which also spurred the 1989 protests in Tiananmen. Allowing the “use” of the Lockheed-Martin C-130 transport aircraft represents the possibility of further relaxation in the category of military transport aircraft.

Terrorist Control or Legitimate Dissent Control: Relaxation of the Tiananmen sanctions allow a range of U.S. police equipment to be sold to China, including the LRAD, shown being marketed in China in 2008 (top) and now two Chinese companies produce facsimiles. Source: Chinese Internet

Media Warfare

It might have taken longer for Washington policy circles to notice were it not for the near immediate exploitation of President Obama’s letter by the Chinese “press.” On 10 October, China Daily reporter Bao Daozu opened an article with the falsehood, “The United States appears ready to lift its 21-year-old arms embargo against China in the wake of President Obama's request on Saturday to ease restrictions on the sale of cargo aircraft to Beijing.”  The article continues quoting Chinese sources on the negative effects of the embargo on China, the possibility of Washington seeking economic gain, but then quotes Zhai Dequan, the Vice Secretary General of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, saying, “Apart from the C-130, the U.S. should export more advanced weaponry to China, to fully realize the normalization and transparency of military exchanges.”[4]

China Daily ultimately answers to the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department, which has long honed its practice of “Media Warfare” to shape domestic and foreign opinion, so it is not beyond reason that China Daily had advance knowledge that the White House waiver was in the works, using it to “ambush” the Obama Administration prior to an important meeting.  In addition, as the Chinese Arms Control and Disarmament Association is essentially an arm of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, it is likely that Vice Secretary General. Zhai’s comments were aimed at the 11 October meeting of U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and China’s Defense Minister General Liang Guangli -- ending nearly a year in which Chinese military officials pointedly refused to meet with their U.S. counterparts to protest U.S. arms sales to democratic Taiwan.  While former U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton called the waiver a “toe in the water” to test reaction to the relaxation of arms sales sanctions “that should be rejected,”[5] Zhai Dequan’s comments offer an indication of the high price the U.S. may have to pay for “normalization and transparency” in military relations with China.

Deputy Sec. Gen Zhai Dequan: A veteran “barbarian handler,” Zhai spent 20 years in the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense. He now defends China’s nuclear and arms control policies and actions while often being critical of the United States. Source: Journal of Mine Action

Nevertheless, when asked, first by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, White House National Security Council spokesman Michael Hammer made clear “we are not selling any aircraft to anyone,"[6] and emphasized later, "No C-130 has gone to China or is being sold to China.”[7]  Hammer’s explanation to Gertz and other reporters was that this waiver was issued to allow a private company to operate C-130 aircraft from China for temporary missions of delivering chemical dispersants on oil spills.  Then a “senior administration official” told Josh Rogin of The Cable, "A European company that has C-130s wanted to be able to use them in a disaster response in that region and needed the waiver just in case they needed to land in China."[8] This same official also said the waiver was being issued as part of “contingency planning” to respond to future oil spills.[9]

These explanations, however, still beg more questions.  First, even this senior official appears to acknowledge that there is no Chinese oil spill right now that requires the use of U.S. made aircraft.  Second, the White House has not disclosed which European company needed this waiver and why it was so important that President Obama issue such a waiver on the eve of Secretary Gate’s meeting with the Chinese Defense Minister?  Absent a clear purpose for the waiver, it is legitimate to consider that John Bolton’s suspicions have merit, and that the White House was seeking to test reactions.  For this there may be two plausible explanations: first the Administration may be considering “rewarding” China for reviving stalled military-to-military dialogue with some relaxation in the embargoes.  A second reason may be that as the Administration considers more active space cooperation with China, perhaps to include allowing Chinese access to the International Space Station, more complex waivers will be necessary.  But on both counts it can be argued that it is premature to move forward, China is constantly proving its willingness to use U.S. and other dual-use technologies for military purposes.

China’s U.S.-Made Air Force

National Security Council spokesman Hammer was correct only in the present tense when he stated “No C-130 has gone to China.”  In December 1987 Lockheed Martin delivered two civil versions of the C-130 called the L-100.  They are currently operated by Air China and have largely been used for civil air cargo deliveries from Japan to Singapore.  But inasmuch as all Chinese airliners constitute a “reserve” for the PLA, and are used regularly to support a range of PLA exercises and operations, it is important to consider how U.S.-made aircraft already support China’s military potential.

Already In China: Air China operates at least two Lockheed C-130/L-100 cargo transports, acquired in 1987 before the 1989 Tiananmen arms embargoes. Source: Chinese Internet

In terms of cargo aircraft alone, Chinese and Hong Kong airlines may control over 80 Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed- made cargoliners.  This alone is likely more than four times the number of Russian-made Ilyushin Il-76 dedicated military cargo transports in the PLA Air Force, said to be about 20.  The below chart offers an estimate of the Chinese civil cargo fleet.


While one could record occasional Chinese military reporting on PLA troops using civilian airliners before, there has been more frequent reporting of PLA use of China’s civil airliners following the disastrous May 12, 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. Here China’s civil airliners played a key role in China’s quick and massive humanitarian response. While no one questions a government’s need to respond to humanitarian crises, it is also necessary to consider the wisdom of providing a dual use capability when political military conflicts raise the prospect of becoming the target of that capability.  The PLA uses the Boeings and Airbuses in China’s airlines to transport it military and this capability has been exercised with more frequency since 2008. 

The most recent such exercise started on 10 October 2010. Called “Mission-Action 2010,” it reportedly involved about 30,000 troops in three divisions across seven military regions.[10] This exercises also combined military and civil transport resources.  Early CCTV coverage featured a brief story on one unit utilizing one of the new Boeing 777F cargo transports recently delivered to China Southern Airlines.[11]  China Southern is China’s largest airline and was the first Chinese customer for the B-777F, one of Boeing’s most advanced cargo transports.  China Southern eventually will use six B-777Fs in addition to its two Boeing 747F cargo transports.  Later CCTV coverage featured one, possibly two Air China Boeing B-737 airliners loading and transporting troops. An earlier example of this exercise occurred in mid-June 2008, when the PLA used a Jade Airlines Boeing 747F and a China Eastern MD-11F to move vehicles, troops and material.  In the event of a military crisis, perhaps one that requires an invasion of Taiwan, these civil cargo transports could perform crucial logistic support into secured airfields.  The challenge for the PLA would be to secure cargo lift elevators in addition to the airfield.  A Boeing B-747-400F can carry about 55 metric tons of cargo, the B-777F lifts about 50 metric tons and the MD-11F can carry about 45 metric tons. 

US-made, serving the PLA: An October 12, 2010 CCTV clip showed one of China Southern Airline’s new Boeing B-777F cargoliner (top) participating in “Mission-Action 2010” and an October 14 CCTV clip shows use of a Boeing B-737 (middle) in this same exercise. In mid-June 2008 a Jade Airlines Boeing 747F was used in a PLA mobility exercise (bottom). Source: CCTV

Special Operations Humvee

The potential for the C-130 or other Western military transport aircraft being sold to China makes more relevant China’s current co-production and the PLA’s increasing utilization of copies of the General Motors Hummer, originally designed for the U.S. Army as the replacement for the long-serving Willy’s Jeep.  This vehicle is now used by scores of armies including that of Taiwan.  In China both the Dong Feng Motor Company and the Shenyang Aircraft Company produce versions of the GM Hummer, the civilian version of the U.S. Army M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee), but modified and adopted for use by the PLA.  In 2008, an auto industry source explained to this author that GM has an arrangement solely with Dong Feng Motors, which only sells to the military.  GM apparently supplies parts to Dong Feng Motors and Shenyang for their Humvee production. This source also explained that, in 1997, both the State Department and the Commerce Department approved Chinese co-production of the civil version of the Hummer, and the Commerce Department affirmed this arrangement in 2007.[12] 

Dong Feng’s Humvee, also called the EQ2050, is produced in multiple versions and has been modified into specialized Special Forces vehicles, and as a platform for carrying a version of the W99 81mm automatic mortar.  During the first week of October 2010, a PLA Special Forces unit in the Guangzhou Military Region hosted Special Forces counterparts from Thailand’s Army for Strike-2010, the 9th such PLA-Thai Special Forces exercise. During this exercise the PLA Special Forces made prominent use of a Dong Feng copy of the Hummer. For its October 14, 2010 coverage of the “Mission-Action-2010” exercise, CCTV covered a PLA deployment exercise in which a PLA Humvee is shown loading onto a Xian Y-8 transport, which is similar in size to the C-130.  Inasmuch as Guangzhou MR units are largely dedicated to potential Taiwan contingencies, it stands to reason that the PLA likely has considered the shock effect of using Air China’s C-130s, repainted in Taiwanese configuration, which would then carry Special Forces troops on Humvees. Under the right circumstances and electronic preparation, such a ruse might also be useful against U.S. forces on Kadena Airbase in Okinawa. 

Guangzhou MR Spec Ops Humvee: Seen here during the recent Strike-2010 Special Force training exercise with Thai Army Special Forces (top). The next week CCTV coverage of “Mission-Action 2010” showed a PLA Humvee entering a Xian Y-8 transport, similar in size to the C-130 (Bottom) Source: CCTV

Space Cooperation: How Many Waivers?

A second reason for the Obama Administration’s possible desire to test the political support for the Tiananmen sanctions is the potential for its beginning active outer-space cooperation efforts with China.  In April 2009 President Obama’s new While House Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren was already suggesting that China, along with Russia, would be able to provide space transport services to the International Space Station (ISS) after the retirement of the Space Shuttle.  He told one interviewer, “I think it's possible in principle to develop the required degree of confidence in the Chinese.”[13] Holdren made this statement well before President Obama’s late January 2010 decision to cancel the Bush Administration’s Constellation Program to return to the Moon.  This would include cancellation of the Ares-1 manned space vehicle that would have replaced the Shuttle as the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s (NASA) main personnel transport to the ISS, in favor of relying on Russian Soyuz space capsules and new U.S. corporations promising yet-to-be-built manned space transport systems.  In the face of bi-partisan opposition Obama backtracked, and in April 2010 did agree to develop a cargo only version of the Ares-1 while committing to the development of a new heavy-launch space vehicle over a longer term.  But there still may be a five year or more gap during which the U.S. may have to rely on others to get to the ISS.   

The issues of sustaining transport to the ISS, and pressure from ISS partners, are now pressing the Obama Administration to actively consider whether China should be allowed to participate in the International Space Station.  While the Bush Administration appeared ready to let the ISS expire, the Obama Administration has committed to sustaining the ISS until 2020.  Both the European Space Agency[14] and the Russian space agency favor China’s participation. Early on, China appeared reluctant to participate in the ISS, instead favoring its own space station.[15]  But it also appears that in the last few years China settled into a strategy of allowing greater dialogue on this matter with the Europeans and the Russians who would then lobby Washington.  This strategy also serves to create the illusion of a “benefit” that could help undermine support for Tiananmen sanctions in both Europe and the U.S.  Russia is also pressing China’s case as it does not want to be the only space transport provider to the ISS after the Shuttle retires. But on the eve of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s 16-21 October visit to China, White House science advisor Damon Wells acknowledged getting China on the ISS was a “very complex issue,” raising issues concerning “the need for more transparency in the Chinese program, nonproliferation questions.”[16]

In terms of capability, China could soon be able to go to the ISS.  In 2011, China will launch its Tiangong, a small 8-ton space station that initially will be used to test China’s space docking technology, and then be developed to perform other missions, to include being a cargo shuttle to the  future space station China plans to loft around 2020.  In the 1990’s, China purchased the Russian APAS space docking system, which would potentially make China’s Shenzhou space capsule capable of docking with the Russian part of the ISS. 

Confidence vs China’s Military Manned Space Program

Mr. Wells’ concerns are correct and getting China aboard the ISS will take a great deal of work to “develop the required degree of confidence.”   The Shenzhou and its docking system will have to be certified to the satisfaction of all the paying ISS partners, which includes the European Space Agency, Russia, Japan and Canada.  It can be expected that China will request an expansive degree of access to the U.S., Russian and Japanese space programs that involve the ISS and many connected to it.  From the American President this will require volumes of waivers for the Tiananmen sanctions. While some supporters of greater space cooperation with China are careful to acknowledge China’s disturbing military actions in space, they are still willing to conclude, “exploring synergies in the realm of commercial space activities and civil space exploration hold the potential to build confidence and reduce skepticism across the board.”[17]

Sadly, such perspectives border on willful denial. China’s manned space program is controlled by the General Armaments Department of the PLA’s Central Military Commission and is designed to produce dual-use military benefits for the PLA.  All seven of China’s unmanned and manned Shenzhou missions from 1999 to 2008 performed military as well as civil and tech validation missions.  The last Shenzhou-7 mission featured a pass to about 45km from the ISS just after it had launched a microsatellite.  Depending on one’s perspective this could have been a neat “wave hello,” or practice for future space-combat interception.  But such debates about the dilemmas of dual-use technologies are not merely academic -- during Shenzhou-7’s flyby there were two Russians and one American aboard the ISS, three lives put in potential danger by China.[18]  It does not serve the case for public confidence that during or after this September, 2008 incident officials from the American, Russian or Chinese governments have offered no public comments or explanations regarding the reasons for, or the risks posed, by Shenzhou-7’s close pass by the ISS. 

Dual Use Shenzhou-7: Was it signaling China’s ability to reach the ISS, or more ominously, to shoot it down? Source: CCTV

China will surely use whatever knowledge it gains from all interactions surrounding its access to the ISS to improve or develop military-space capabilities it deems necessary.  China has already proven its ability to aggressively exploit a brief window of large-scale access to Russia space program in the late 1990s, to accelerate its development of space stations.[19]  Already, it is clear from multiple images made available by the Chinese that the Tiangong vessel has two built-in spaces for holding cameras or other payloads.  Some Chinese sources suggest the Tiangong will also be used for launching microsatellites,[20] thus increasing its potential to perform a range of active surveillance or space combat missions. Inasmuch as Chinese images show that its future 20-ton Space Station will be based on Russian-style modules, it is reasonable that the PLA has considered how Russia intended to make its MIR Space Station into a military space station that could accept military-mission modules as required.[21] 

Dual Use Tiangong: Two portals clearly visible in the mid-section of the Tiangong space technology test vehicle could be used to carry reconnaissance cameras or canisters to dispense satellite or even weapon payloads. Source: Chinese Internet

Despite China’s decades of diplomatic and propaganda activism to curtail the military-space initiatives of other countries, the Chinese Communist Party and the PLA are apparently united on China’s need for military space capabilities. Starting with the November 2009 60th Anniversary program, PLA Air Force leaders have been explaining their new strategy of building an “integrated air and space force capable of offensive and defensive actions.”[22] In late November 2009, one Chinese commentator scoffed that as long as “hegemonism” (code word for the United States) maintains military primacy in space, “air-and-space non-militarization is merely people's naive illusion, or just a slogan and banner.” He further implied that China is now going to deter the U.S. in space, noting, “The Chinese Air Force decided to make the historical change by adopting the strategy of  ‘integration of air and space, possessing both offense and defensive capabilities’ precisely for the purpose of restricting the militarization of air and space and realizing an aerospace military balance.”[23]

Dual Use Shenlong: Revealed in late 2007, the Shenlong space plane could test technologies for a future Chinese space shuttle, or could itself be developed into an unmanned space-plane that could be used to perform civil and military missions.[24] Source: Chinese Internet

The Wider Impact of Relaxing American Sanctions

It is likely that an American relaxation of Tiananmen sanctions, whether to “reward” good PLA behavior or to advance space cooperation, is likely to spur more members of the European Union to revise their less-restrictive post-1989 arms sales sanctions. Today, Eurocopter co-develops advanced helicopters with China’s main helicopter design bureau; Airbus assembles A-320 airliners in Tianjin; while in the past, Britain has sold naval airborne radar and leading-edge microsatellite technology to China. Furthermore, there is likely to be far greater corporate pressure to relax these sanctions now that Britain and other European countries are moving to implement sharp reductions in military forces and defense spending, creating far greater pressures for their defense companies to win exports. 

For its part, now that the PLA has absorbed much of Russia’s modern defense technologies, the PLA would dearly like to boost its military technology development by gaining wide access to European defense systems. It also has been China’s objective to end Europe’s arms embargo without linkage to justice for the victims of Tiananmen or improving human rights, both to end the embargo’s political stigma and to prove to the Chinese people that the Communist Party will not be shamed into political reform by foreign forces. 

Perpetuating the Kim Regime Dictatorship: Chinese Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yong Kang on the 9 October 2010 Pyongyang military parade review dais with Kim Jong Il and his son/successor General Kim Jong Un. Source: CCTV

Furthermore, it is clear that should it obtain wider access to Western space or defense technology China will inevitably use that technology to advance its strategic interests, which increasingly threatens the security of the United States, its Asian allies and friends, and Europe.  North Korea’s 9 October military parade provided the most recent example of China’s willingness to use its power to sustain these threats.  Very prominently on the reviewing dais with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il -- and then shaking hands with his newly designated successor and son, General Kim Jong Un -- was Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee Member Zhou Yong Kang.  This constituted the Chinese Communist Party’s public blessing for the continuation for another generation of world’s most oppressive dictatorship. 

Possible Chinese Pro-nuclear Proliferation: North Korea’s new advanced SAM could be the source for Iran’s possible advanced SAM program (bottom) , revealed in April 2010. North Korea’s SAM source could be China. Source: Chinese Internet

In the 9 October parade, was a possible sign of greater physical Chinese support for North Korea’s and potentially Iran’s nuclear weapons programs. The  parade revealed a new, advanced North Korean surface-to-air missile (SAM) system characterized by technologies used in both modern Russian and new Chinese SAMs.  The North Korean SAM’s cold-launch missile tubes and phased array radar/guidance system looked similar to both the Russian Almaz S-300, and the newer Chinese HQ-9/FD-2000, which was aided by Almaz technology.  These SAMs feature very high speed missiles and highly difficult to jam radar/guidance systems.  The U.S. Air Force is greatly concerned with the threat these missiles pose to U.S. 4th generation fighters.[25]  North Korea’s SAM looks similar to an Iranian SAM mockup revealed in an April, 2010 parade, and this may provide clues to the source of both systems.  After much U.S. and Israeli pressure, in September Russia reportedly cancelled a 2007 contract to sell Iran the S-300.[26]  While there remains a chance that Russian companies may have sought another route to sell such technology, there is also the chance that such an effort would have been exposed.  This leaves China, which has an interest in helping both North Korea and Iran to defend their nuclear weapons capabilities from U.S. or Western attack.  North Korea’s new SAM, and its potential Iranian version, could sharply increase the cost to Israel and/or the United States should either decide to attack these accumulating nuclear threats to Western security. 

It would constitute a remarkable turn of events were the Obama Administration to successfully use dialogue over China’s access to the International Space Station to obtain real answers from China’s government and the PLA to the ever-mounting  legion of questions regarding “transparency” and “proliferation.” But if it does not, and the Obama Administration continues to pursue space cooperation to include access to the ISS, then China might once again outmaneuver Washington into compromising its security and values. The reality is that China’s abhorrence of military transparency, its refusal to abide by Western proliferation norms, and its continued support for both the North Korean and Iranian harbingers of an age of nuclear terrorism, are likely to remain unchanged by gestures such as relaxing Tiananmen sanctions or allowing access to the ISS.  China supports these rogue states and their nuclear programs because ultimately it is in the paramount interest of advancing the survival of the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party.  In addition, after 21 years the Tiananmen sanctions have not prevented China’s near arrival at the status of military superpower.  Over this time China has used its accumulating power to threaten democracy on Taiwan, to intimidate most of its neighbors and to challenge Washington’s strategic superiority in the Western Pacific.  But the continuation of these sanctions does allow United States and Europe to sustain a constant reminder of China’s brutal suppression of June 1989, and makes clear that the real source of Western concerns about military or other high technology cooperation with China starts with the character of the Communist Party regime and its treatment of the Chinese people.

[1] The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Letter from the President Regarding an Export Waiver for China,” October 8, 2010,

[2] Richard D. Fisher, Jr. “China’s Military Employment of American Dual Use Technologies,” International Assessment and Strategy Center Web Page, August 1, 2008,,recNo.11/pub_byauthor_list.asp

[3] Made by the U.S. LRAD Corporation, the LRAD device uses high power sound waves to cause pain or loss of vision at ranges of about 100 meters.  They were marketed at a Chinese police equipment exhibition in May 2008.  By the same exhibition in May 2010 two Chinese companies were displaying similar LRAD systems, both utilizing copies of the U.S. General Motors Humvee.  The 2008 exhibition was reported by David Hambling, “US Sonic Blasters Sold To China,” The Danger Room, May 15, 2008,

[4] Bao Daozu, “US may lift Chinese arms embargo,” China Daily, October 10, 2010,

[5] Bill Gertz, “Obama loosens sanctions on C-130s to China, Timing of waiver questioned by critics,” The Washington Times, October 11, 2010,

[6] Ibid.

[7] Josh Rogin, “White House denies media reports that it is loosening arms exports to China,” The Cable, Foreign Policy Magazine, October 13, 2010,

[8] Ibid.

[9] Jim Wolf, “Obama waiver of China sanctions draws questions,” Reuters, October 13, 2010,

[10] “China to conduct 30,000-troop military drill,” Xinhua, October 9, 2010, ; Exercise participating troops of Beijing MAC unfolds three-dimensional transportation,” PLA Daily, October 15, 2010,

[11] “China Southern adds 5th Boeing 777 Freighter to Expanding Cargo Fleet,”  August 26, 2010, 

[12] This story was covered in Fisher, op-cit.

[13] Jeffery Mervis, “In Full Interview, John Holdren Eschews New Nukes, Hints At Space Flight Delays,” Science Magazine, April 8, 2009,

[14] “China May Become Space Station Partner,” Xinhua, June 1, 2010,

[15] Doug Messier, “Perminov: “Chinese Shenzhou Vehicle Eyed as ISS Backup to Russian Soyuz,”

[16] Amy Klamper, “Human Spaceflight on Agenda for Bolden’s China Trip,” Space News, October 8, 2010,

[17]  Vincent Sabathier, G. Ryan Faith, and Alexandros Petersen, “Ensuring U.S. Access To The International Space Station,” Commentary, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 15, 2008.

[18] For more on this incident see the author, “Closer Look: Shenzhou-7’s Close Pass By The International Space Station,” International Assessment and Strategy Center Web Page, October 9, 2008,

[19] According to Russian sources this involved allowing access to the Star City Russian Cosmonaut training facility and most Russian space corporations by hundreds of Chinese engineers for a number of months, see the author’s “Report from MAKS 2009: Betting on the Next Generation,” International Assessment and Strategy Center Web Page, September 11, 2009,

[20] This report carried on the 9ifly Web Page is a December 12, 2008 report stating that the second Tiangong mission will feature the launching of “small satellites,”

[21] For a recent Russian review of the military ambitions for the MIR space stations see Vladimir Lukashevsky and Igor Afanasev, Space Planes, Moscow: Lenta Publishers, 2009, pgs. 392-396.  As first outlined by 1996 history produced by the Russian Energia Corporation, this concept involved taking un-winged fuselages of the Buran space shuttle and filling the hold with smaller space-fighters that would then launch nuclear strikes against ground targets. 

[22] Richard D. Fisher, Jr., “October Surprises In Chinese Aerospace,” International Assessment and Strategy Center Web Page, December 30, 2009,

[23] Yang Minqing, "Chinese Air Force's New Strategy and New Security Concept", Liaowang (published by Xinhua), November 20, 2009, OSC Translation.

[24] For background on the Shenlong see the author’s “Shenlong Space Plane Advances China’s Military-Space Potential,” International Assessment and Strategy Center Web Page, December 17, 2007,

[25] Staff Sgt. C Todd Lopez, “F-22 excels at establishing air dominance,” Air Force Print News, June 23, 2006, ; also see Christopher Bolkom, “Military Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD): Assessing Future Needs, Congressional Research Service, May 11, 2005,

[26] Lauren Gelfand, “Russia confirms cancelling Iran’s S-300 contract,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 13, 2010.

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