Building a More Secure Asia Through Missile Defense

Report Missile Defense

Building a More Secure Asia Through Missile Defense

October 24, 1995 26 min read Download Report
Richard Fisher
Distinguished Fellow in China Policy

(Archived document, may contain errors)

No. 138 October 24, 1995


INTRODUCTION China's July 21-26 missile test about 100 miles north of Taiwan was a blatant act of intimidation. Armed with nuclear warheads, these Chinese missiles could be used to dev- astate American bases or naval formations in Asia, which lack adequate missile defenses. China's attempt to threaten the Republic of China challenges the United States to provide its forces and friends with appropriate defenses. Unless America responds, China's fu- ture nuclear intimidation could destabilize Asia by driving others in the region to seek their own nuclear deterrent.

To avoid this, the U.S. should incorporate missile defenses into its strategy to deter ag- gression in Asia. At the same time, Washington should emphasize missile defense coop- eration as an effective alternative to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Clinton Ad- ministration's focus on short-range, theater-based missile defense (TMD) systems is in- adequate. The Administration can enhance security in Asia by pursuing a strategy that de- fends Americans against missile attack and extending that umbrella to America's allies and friends in the region. Such a strategy should include:

V Building and deploying a missile defense system for the United States. In order to defend its allies, America itself must be defended from missile attack.

V Improving the defense of U.S. forces in Asia by accelerating development and deployment of the Navy's Upper Tier system to the Pacific Fleet and the Army's THAAD system to U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan.

V Encouraging Australia, Japan, and South Korea to acquire advanced U.S. TMD systems and promote multilateral missile defense cooperation.

V Telling China to live up to its nonproliferation commitments and offering to share missile defense technology if China agrees to verifiable nucle;ar missile limitation.

V Selling advanced theater missile defense systems to Taiwan, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, and preparing U.S. naval TMD forces to help de- fend Taiwan.

V Offering India and Pakistan a deal: If they agree to negotiate verifiable limits and reductions of their nuclear and missile forces, the U.S. will offer them ac- cess to satellite intelligence to verify agreements and technology to help de- fend against missile attack.


China's Global and Regional Threat. China's nuclear missile program dates back to the mid- 1950s and has grown to include several classes of nuclear-armed ballistic I missiles. China is believed to have about 300 nuclear warheads for its missile force. By the year 2120, according to one estimate, China could have 50 to 70 intercontinen- tal ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States from bases in China.2 Two mobile ICBMs are under development-the 5,000-mile-range DF-31 and the 7,500-mile-range DF-4 1. The DF-3 1, tested on May 29, 1995, could reach the Western U.S. if fired from Northern China. China deploys four DF-5 missiles which can carry a 4 to 5 megaton warhead over 8,000 miles and 10 DF-4 missiles with a 3,000-mile range. China has one to two nuclear missile submarines which can carry 12 of the 1,000-mile Julang-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The 5,000-mile-range Julang-2, a variant of the DF-3 1, is under development. China also possesses several intermediate-range and tactical nuclear-capable mis- siles. Since the mid- 1980s it has build over 30 DF-21 missiles with a 1, 125-mile range. It also may have more than 60 older and less accurate DF-3 1,700-mile-range missiles. Chinese nuclear-capable tactical missiles include the 185-n-tile-range DF- I I (M- 11) and the 375-mile-range DF- 15 (M-9). According to Chinese military analyst Dr. Chong Pin Lin, China has hired Russian technicians and may have purchased a complete missile plant from Russia, to produce long-range cruise missiles similar to the U.S. Tomahawk.3 China is developing Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) that emit precise navigation signals. With such a capability, Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles could acquire high degrees of accuracy.4

I "Chinese Nuclear and Conventional Forces 1993," Arms Control Today, December 1993, p. 29. 2 Stephen Hutcheon, "China may set off another nuclear test next week," Sydney Morning Herald, August 11, 1995, p. 11. 3 Lu Te-yung, "Mainland Military Expert Visiting U.S. Discloses That Mainland Has Invited Experts of Former Soviet Union To Develop Cruise Missiles," Lien Ho Po, July 30, 1995, p. 8. in FBIS-China, August 29, 1995, p. 33. 4 "China 'OPS' Project Set." Aviation Week and Space Technology, October 17. 1994, p. 25. Map 1. .... . ... .... .... .

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. ... ... . . In 1993 China re- portedly purchased 60 Russian S-300s, RUSSIA comparable in capa- bility to the U.S. Patriot missile, which can intercept MONGOU tactical ballistic rm's Tonghua siles, such as the (owab-0+ Russian Scud, in AAPAN flight.5 Thus, China PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC R already has a lim- OF CHINA ited anti-tactical bal- listic missile Chux, king (ATBM) capability. + (operadonal) IND Pusix MA' China's nuclear WANMAR i4oW..::. OF ONG

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5 Tai Ming Cheung, "China's Buying Spree," Far Eastern Economic Review, July 8,1993, p. 26. 6 David A. Fulghum and Michael Mecharn, "Chinese Tests Stun Neighbors," Aviation Week and Space Technology, July 3 1. 1995, p. 23. 7 Bill Gertz, "Missile tests raise fear of Chinese aggression in Asia," The Washington Times, August 15, 1995, p. Al.



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North Korea's Current and Future Threat. North Korea's extensive missile program is often overshadowed by its nuclear weapons development program.8 But its ballistic missile program deserves equal attention. It was revealed in 1994 that North Korea was developing two long-range missiles, dubbed the Taepo Dong-1 & 2 with estimated ranges of 1,200 miles and 2,000 miles, respectively. These missiles would give North Ko- rea the capability to target U.S. forces in Guam. According to recent South Korean and Russian estimates, the Taepo Dong-2 could have a 6,200-mile range, which would cover about half the continental U.S.9 At this estimated range, the Taepo Dong-2 also could reach Europe, all of East Asia, and Australia. Some U.S. estimates, however, give this missile only a 2,500-mile range, and it is not expected to be operational before the year 2000. In a June 1994 statement, the head of U.S. Naval Intelligence estimated a North Korean missile could carry a nuclear warhead by the year 2000, or possibly as early as this year. 10 North Korea tested a variant of the Scud in May 1993. Called the Nodong-1 , it has an estimated 625-mile range and is capable of threatening U.S. forces in Japan. North Korea was reported to have had 12 to 18 Nodong-1 missiles in early 1994.11 There are also re-

8 North Korea was estimated to have built at least two "nuclear devices" by early 1994. Defectors have claimed the North has five bombs. However, with the help of Russian technicians the North could make smaller, and thus more, nuclear weapons. For a summary of North Korea's nuclear program, see Richard D. Fisher, Jr., "North Korea's Nuclear Threat Challenges the World and Tests America's Resolve," Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center Backgrounder No. 129, February 23, 1994. 9 Pak Chae-pom, "U.S. Reportedly Within New North Missile Range," Seoul Sinmum, September 11, 1995, p. 3, in FBIS-East Asia, September 11, 1995, p. 49; Bill Gertz, "N. Korean missile could reach U.S., intelligence warns," The Washington Times, September 29,1995, p. A3. 10 Barbara Starr, "No Dongs may soon be nuclear. warn USN," Jane's Defence Weekly, June 18, 1994, p. 1. 11 Hangkuk Ilbo, January 28, 1994, p. 5; also, for reports of Nodong deployment in mid- 1995, see "Pyongyang reportedly ports that the North is developing a solid-fueled 930-mile transportable variant, the 12 Nodong-2, with the help of Russian technicians. Pyongyang began producing the 185-mile-range Scud-B in the mid-1980s, after gaining advanced missile design knowledge from China and from copying a Scud-B 13 obtained from Egypt, most likely in 1981 . Pyongyang began production of the im proved 300-mile-range Scud-C in 1991 and is now estimated to be producing that mis- sile at a rate of 100 a year. The Scud-C is a mobile missile capable of carrying high ex- plosive, biological, or chemical warheads. It has a range enabling it to reach all of South Korea. The North is believed to maintain a total of 24 to 36 Scud-Cs in its Army. According to Robert D. Walpole, Deputy Director of the CIA's Nonproliferation 14 Center, "North Korea is the largest proliferator [in the world] of ballistic missiles." Pyongyang uses missile sales to earn hard cash for oil. By one estimate North Korea has sold Iran and Syria a total of 320 Scud-Cs. 15 It also has enhanced Iran's missile production capability. In turn, Iran may be providing North Korea with missile test fa- cilities. 16 Although North Korea has discussed missile sales with Libya, Walpole be- lieves that Iran probably will be the first to purchase Nodong missiles. India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought each other in 1947, 1966, and 197 1. In recent years both countries have almost come to blows over the disputed state of Kashmir in Northern India. Their nuclear competition dates from the 1970s. Al- though claiming not to be a nuclear state, India is believed to have exploded a 12-kilo- ton nuclear device in 1974, and Shekhar Gupta, Senior Editor of India Today, esti- mates India has enough fissile material to build 60 bombs. 17 The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is committed to building a nuclear arsenal and may lead the govern- ment after national elections early in 1996. Meanwhile, Pakistan is believed to have enough plutonium for seven crude nuclear weapons. 18 Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD) charged in April of this year that he believes Pakistan has five nuclear weapons and In- dia possesses between five and ten. 19 The inability of the Bush Administration in 1990 to certify that Pakistan lacked a nuclear weapon triggered provisions of the 1986 Pressler Amendment barring U.S. military sales to Pakistan. Both states are developing missiles that could be nuclear armed. India is deploying the indigenously developed 150-mile-range Prithvi to reserve Army units. 20 This is a liquid-fueled, mobile missile. India is estimated to have 40 to 50 Prithvi missiles,

deploys Rodong- I," The Washington Times, September 15, 1995, p. A 18. 12 Greg J. Gerardi and James A. Plotts, "An Annotated Chronology of DPRK Missile Trade and Developments," The Nonproliferation Review, Fall 1994, p. 87; Barbara Starr, "North Korea grasps at stage beyond Nodong-j," Jane's Defence Weekly, March 19, 1994, p. 18. 13 Gerardi and Plotts, "An Annotated Chronology of DPRK Missile Trade and Developments," p. 76. 14 Thomas W. Lippman. "U.S. Hopes to Break a Pattern," The Washington Post, June 14, 1994, p. A 16. 15 Gerardi and Plotts, "An Annotated Chronology of DPRK Missile Trade and Developments," p. 65. 16 Ibid., p. 67. 17 Shekhar Gupta, "India Redefines its Role," Adelphi Paper No. 293, 1995, p. 46. 18 S. Gordon, "Religious Fissures Widen," Asia Pacific Defence Reporter, December/January 1995, p. 49. 19 Gus Constantine, "Pressler maintains Pakistan has a stable of nukes," The Washington Times, April 13, 1995, p. A 13. 21 with the intention of building up to 80. In 1992 India tested a variant of the liquid-fu- eled and immobile Agni missile that flew over 1,500 miles. It is now considering deploy- ing this missile, 22 which is capable of reaching most of Pakistan and many targets in China. Additionally, India is developing an Advanced Space Launch Vehicle (ASLV) for commercial purposes, and this could become a 2,500-mile-range missile. In 1993 the United States stopped Russia from selling ICBM engine technology to India but did go ahead and sell complete rocket engines that could assist India in building more powerful missile engines. With China's assistance, Pakistan began the development of its Haft missiles in the early 1980s. First tested in 1989, the Haft-1 has a range of only 50 miles. Also under de- velopment are the 185-mile Haft-2 and 375-mile Haft-3 missiles. In 1991 U.S. officials revealed that Pakistan was purchasing the 185-mile Chinese M- 11. 23 Pakistan received transporter-erector-launchers for the M- 11 in February 1991 from China. In July 1995, U.S. sRy satellites discovered over 30 M-1 1 delivery cases at an air force base in Paki- stan.2 Future Indian long-range ballistic missiles may be capable of reaching U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. However, India's and Pakistan's potential nuclear missile arsenals are mainly to deter each other, while India also seeks to deter China. While it would not threaten the United States, a nuclear missile exchange between India and Pakistan would create incalculable destruction and loss of life, fuel religious and eth- nic conflict, and destabilize South Asia and the Persian Gulf for decades.


Washington has tried diplomacy and sanctions to prevent nuclear and missile prolifera- tion in Asia. While these attempts have been worthwhile, they have not stopped prolifera- tion. China signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992 but continues to export nuclear technology. Most recently China is reported to have sold Iran a calutron for enriching uranium, a critical missing link in Iran's nuclear weapons program. 25 China twice has promised but failed to abide by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which forbids the sale of missiles with ranges over 185 miles. 26 However, evi- dence is accumulating that China earlier this year shipped more than 30 M- I Is to Paki- stan. 27

20 Greg J. Gerardi, "India's 333rd Prithvi Missile Group," Jane's Intelligence Review, August 1995, p. 361. 21 Ibid. 22 Rarhan Bokhari and Vivek Raghuvanshi, "Pakistan, India Trade Barbs Over Nuclear Missiles," Defense News, August 28, 1995, p. 1. 23 John J. Fialka, "Pakistan Seeks Chinese Missile, U.S. Believes," The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 1991, p. A 16. 24 R. Jeffrey Smith, "Spy Photos Suggest China Missile Trade," The Washington Post, July 3,1995. p. A I. 25 Con Coughlin, "Chinese help Iran join the nuke club," The Washington Times, September 25, 1995, p. Al. 26 Beijing in 1991 pledged to abide by the MTCR while refusing to sign it. In August 1993, in response to China's sale of M- I I components to Pakistan and its nuclear cooperation with Iran, the U.S. imposed sanctions on China. Three months later China again pledged that it would follow-but not join-the MTCR. 27 R. Jeffrey Smith, "An M- I I Missile Violation By Any Other Name ...... The Washington Post, August 3, 1995, p. A29. North Korea signed the NPT in 1985 but has failed to comply fully with its terms. For example, it refused until 1992 to allow inspections by the International Atomic En- ergy Agency (IAEA) as required by the pact and threatened to withdraw from the pact in March 1993 in reaction to IAEA requests to inspect a nuclear waste dump. This dump, which would have yielded information on the extent of North Korean pluto- nium production, still has not been inspected. In addition, North Korea has yet to ful- fill a pledge, made to South Korea in 1991, to create a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. The threat of limited United Nations sanctions in 1994 forced Pyongyang to agree to "freeze" its nuclear program. In October 1994 North Korea agreed to freeze and then dismantle its existing nuclear program in exchange for two light-water nuclear power plants that would be financed and built by an international consortium. However, the pact allows Pyongyang to delay full IAEA inspections for five years or more and stipu- lates that these inspections will not begin until "significant components" of the reac- tors are delivered. Pyongyang has challenged and will likely continue to challenge the implementation of this complex agreement. 28 Pyongyang's objections to Seoul's role in building the proposed light-water reactors heightened tensions and again led to a flurry of U.S.- North Korean negotiations this Spring and to further delay in the agreement's imple- mentation. Meanwhile, it is possible that North Korea continues nuclear weapons-re- lated research and development in locations unknown to the IAEA-which cannot un- dertake full-scope inspections. North Korea also refuses to join the MTCR. North Ko- rea's ability to undermine the NPT and IAEA and flout the MTCR all demonstrate the weakness of diplomacy in stemming nuclear proliferation. Both India and Pakistan also have refused to sign the NPT and join the MTCR. The Pressler Amendment sanctions against Pakistan, which have barred U.S. military sales since 1990, have yet to convince Islamabad to end its nuclear weapons program. The Bush Administration tried, but failed, to convince India and Pakistan to negotiate a South Asian Nuclear Free Zone. 29 In 1994 Pakistan rejected a Clinton Administration proposal that the United States and NATO guarantee Pakistan's security if it denu- 30 clearized.


America's extended nuclear and conventional force deterrent is the foundation of se- curity in the Asia-Pacific region. This American commitment obviates the need for al- lies and friends to build their own nuclear deterrent. The possibility of nuclear prolif- eration in Asia increases when America's commitment is undermined, either from Washington or by new nuclear threats. After China's threatening July missile tests, in Taiwan's parliament on July 28, Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui responded to a ques- tion from opposition Democratic Progressive Party member Liu Jui-hsiung on whether

28 See Daryl M. Plunk, "Me Clinton Nuclear Deal With Pyongyang: Road Map to Progress or Dead End Street?." Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center Backgrounder No. 133, November 4, 1995. 29 Salarnat Ali and Hamish McDonald, "South Asian NFZ?," Far Eastern Economic Review, December 5,1991, p. 20. 30 "Pakistan," Far Eastern Economic Review 1995 Yearbook (Hong Kong: Review Publishing Company, 1995), p. 187. Taiwan should develop nuclear weapons. "Whether [we] need nuclear weapons would re- quire long-term study," Lee said. "Taiwan used to have the capability to build nuclear weapons but it caused international concern and damaged the country's image. ,31 Indeed, it was the Carter Administration's decision to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan and its attempt to reduce U.S. troops in South Korea that increased interest in nu- clear weapons in both countries. Washington convinced Taipei not to proceed with at- tempts to acquire plutonium in the late 1970s and to end nuclear weapons-related re- search in the late 1980s. 32 A retired South Korean general has disclosed that in the late 1970s South Korea almost completed an atomic bomb, but the project stopped after pres- sure from Washington. 33 Although, although Japan's national policy since 1971 has been not to manufacture, possess, or allow the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan, in 1994 then-Prime Minister Tsutornu Hata unnerved many with the comment that "It is certainly the case that Japan has the capability to possess nuclear weapons, but has not made them. 34 Only a series of cataclysmic events, such as a rupture of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty combined with nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula, would likely move Japan to build nuclear weapons. 35 Missile technology is also widespread throughout Asia. Japan's H-2 commercial space- launch vehicle conceivably could be turned into a 9,300-mile-range ICBM. The South Korean Army deploys the 150-mile NHK-1 tactical missile. In June, Seoul reportedly asked Washington to scrap a 1979 agreement that bars South Korea from building mis- siles that travel more than 180 mile s?6 Taipei is developing the 80-mile-range Green Bee tactical missile and the 600-mile-range Sky Horse missile.


Missile defense systems will increase the security of American forces deployed abroad. At the same time, they can benefit the United States and its Asian allies in other ways. For example:

0 Anti-missile systems offer a deterrent far less threatening than nuclear weap- ons. Anti-missile systems are a less destabilizing way to deter attack from nuclear missile-armed states. 37 Should a non-nuclear Asian state build nuclear weapons, other non-nuclear states will be inclined to follow suit. This is a recipe for further proliferation.

31 "President Says 'No Plans' for Nuclear Weapons," Hong Kong AFP in FBIS-East Asia, July 28, 1995, p. 58. 32 Cheung, "China's Buying Spree"; "Don't you shove me around," The Economist, April 2. 1988, p. 44. 33 Ibid.; Sang Hun-choe, "S. Korea was close to having A-bomb," The Washington Times, October 10, 1995, p. A 17. 34 David E. Sanger, "In Face-Saving Turn, Japan Denies Nuclear Know-How," The New York Times, June 22, 1994, p. A 10. 35 Tai Ming Cheung, "Nuke begets nuke," Far Eastern Economic Review, June 4, 1992, pp. 22-23. 36 Son Ki Yong, "U.S. Rejects Scrapping Accord Banning Seoul's Development of Long-Range Missile Tech," The Korea Times, September 26, 1995, p. 1. @ Anti-missile defenses reduce vulnerability to nuclear blackmail. China's July missile tests were intended to threaten Taiwan. With appropriate anti-missile systems, Taiwan would not be as vulnerable to future Chinese threats. Moreover, with adequate defenses, South Korea and Japan could better withstand potential North Korean or Chinese demands backed by nuclear mis- sile threats. 10 Missile defenses are insurance against accidental nuclear missile launches. China is undergoing a near-terin leadership transition in which the military could emerge as a nationalist force. Because political stability cannot be as- sured, concerns that the political leadership may lose control of China's nuclear weapons cannot be dismissed.38 Control of some of China's nuclear weapons may have been contested in 1967, as reports indicate that the commander of the Chinese military region containing the Lop Nor nuclear test facilities rebelled briefly against Mao Tse-tung.39 In North Korea, presumed leader Kim Jong-11's intentions toward South Korea remain unclear, while accurate knowledge of his health and mental stability is lacking. Were he to be replaced by a faction bent on heightening tensions with South Korea, the chances of an accidental missile launch would grow. 0 Cooperation in missile defenses can build political confidence in Asia. As missile defenses are non-threatening and reduce threats to Asian popula- tion centers, multilateral efforts led by the United States can enhance security, promote defense cooperation, and advance U.S. leadership with Asian allies and friends. These measures would decrease mistrust and increase confidence be- tween Asian countries. 10 Missile defenses can create incentives to reduce both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

For example, if both India and Pakistan possessed missile defenses, there would be less incentive to launch missile attacks against each other. A reduction in the utility of nuclear missiles could enhance mutual confidence, opening the door to negotiations on limiting and reducing nuclear and missile forces. Simi- larly, if the ROC possessed adequate missile defenses, Taipei would have a greater incentive to propose confidence-building measures with Beijing. It could ask, for example, that Beijing join it in agreeing not to deploy tactical or interme- diate-range missiles within a threatening proximity. If the U.S. and its Asian al- lies were to create a regional missile defense system, they would have greater credibility in approaching China, perhaps in the ASEAN Regional Forum, about beginning a dialogue on shared missile defense systems. This could serve as an

37 See Keith B. Payne, "Post-Cold War Deterrence and Missile Defense," Orbis, Spring 1995, p. 221. 38 David G. Wiencek, "Missile Proliferation in Asia," in William M. Carpenter and David G. Wiencek, eds., Asian Security Survey: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe Inc., forthcoming 1996). 39 P. H. M. Jones, "Autonomous Wang," Far Eastern Economic Review, December 28, 1967, p. 570. incentive for Beijing to limit its short-range and intermediate-range nuclear mis- siles.


American extended deterrence and forward deployment of conventional forces serve as the foundation for Asian security. In order to strengthen deterrence and security in - Asia, the United States must take the lead in dealing with Asia's emerging next threat: the proliferation of nuclear-armed missiles. The United States is the only country with the technical and moral strength to counter the growing missile threat in Asia. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1985 invited Australia, Japan, and South Korea to participate in the Strategic Defense Initiative.40 Only Japan responded posi- tively, allowing private companies in 1987 to participate in missile defense architecture studies with the U.S. Department of Defense. The Clinton Administration has built on this by seeking Japanese technological contributions to missile defense systems more ag- gressively and by offering Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems on a commercial ba- sis.

But the Administration's Asian missile defense architecture is hobbled by its decision to abandon the Bush Administration's more ambitious Global Protection Against Lim- ited Strikes (GPALS) program. The Clinton Administration is limiting the U.S. missile defense program to theater-based, short-range systems. The Administration refuses to build space-based missile defense systems, like boost-phase interceptors, that have a bet- ter chance of defending the United States and its allies from missile attack. An active rnis- sile defense strategy toward Asia can strengthen U.S. leadership by:

V Creating a major post-Cold War mission for the Asian-American alliance system. Building a regional missile defense architecture is a service that only America can provide. A secure and stable Asia will foster growth in job-creating U.S.-Asia trade. Equally important, by cooperating with Washington to develop and fund missile defenses, Asian nations for the first time will be able to share the burden of defending the United States and other countries from nuclear mis- sile threats.

V Confirming the benign and defensive intent of American strategy in Asia. American leadership in missile defenses would offer allied and friendly Asian states the same protection from limited nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail that Americans enjoy. Such defenses threaten only the offensive weapons of potential aggressor states in Asia.

V Reversing the growing impression in Asia of American retreat and weak leadership.

40 For a review of early U.S. SDI diplomacy, see Richard D. Fisher, Jr., "Tbe Strategic Defense Initiative's Promise For Asia," Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center Backgrounder No. 40, December 18, 1985.


The Clinton Administration's policy flip-flops toward China, attempts to manage trade with Japan, and inaction in response to aggressive acts by China in the South China Sea and against Taiwan have reduced American credibility in Asia. By exercis- ing strong leadership in missile defenses, Washington can regain lost political momen- tum and begin to reverse diplomatic damage. A strategy to accomplish this goal would entail:

0 Building and deploying a missile defense system for the United States. A National Missile Defense (NMD) system is needed not only to defend Americans, but to demonstrate to U.S. allies and friends that they too need not be vulnerable to nuclear attack or blackmail. Such a goal is both feasible and af- fordable. Earlier this year, a team of experts assembled by The Heritage Founda- tion recommended a National Missile Defense system based initially on the Navy's Upper Tier proposal. This is an advanced high-velocity version of the Navy's Standard surface-to-air missile system deployed in AEGIS cruisers and destroyers. Its guidance would be assisted by the Brilliant Eyes early warning and tracking satellite. The Heritage plan then calls for Upper Tier to be supple- mented by space-based defenses, to include space-based missile interceptors and lasers. The cost of the Upper Tier, Brilliant Eyes, and space based systems is esti- mated to be about $25 billion over 15 years. 41 At the same time, it is critical that the U.S. retain adequate offensive nuclear systems, although NMD would allow the U.S. to reduce its nuclear deterrent forces. 42

Space-based missile defense systems also would enable the U.S. to comple- ment any future TMD capabilities of its Asian allies. If U.S. space-based inter- ceptors or lasers did not destroy hostile missiles early in their flight, U.S. satel- lites could help direct Asian-based interceptors to their targets. Some countries in Asia, like Australia, oppose a U.S. National Missile Defense program because it might lead to abrogating the 1973 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Wash- ington should tell its friends that it seeks ultimately to renegotiate the ABM Treaty with Russia to allow for a limited national defense against missiles but that, in the meantime, the ABM Treaty does not prohibit the United States from deploying theater missile defenses in Asia. Accelerating development and deployment of the Navy's UpperTierTMD system to the Pacific Fleet and the Army's THAAD TMD system to U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan. The Clinton Administration should increase funding for the Navy's Upper Tier TMD system, THAAD, and the Brilliant Eyes early warning satellite. These TMD systems are needed urgently to defend U.S. naval and ground forces in Asia. 43 The Navy's Upper Tier system is especially important because its mobil-

41 Missile Defense Study Team, Defending America: A Near- and Long-Term Plan to Deploy Missile Defenses (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, 1995). 42 Baker Spring, "What The Pentagon's Nuclear Doctrine Review Should Say," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 987, May 26,1994, p. 7.


ity will enable the U.S. Pacific Command to deploy a TMD system near South Ko- rea or Taiwan. This system also will protect U.S. naval forces within range of Chi- nese medium-range missiles. The THAAD system is needed to defend U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan against North Korean Scud and Nodong missiles. Accel- erated development of Upper Tier and THAAD would make these systems more rapidly available for sale to U.S. allies. Encouraging Japan, South Korea, and Australia to acquire advanced U.S. TMD systems and promote multilateral missile defense cooperation. Washington should urge its major allies in Asia to purchase TMD systems, enter into co-development programs, and then explore multilateral cooperation in missile defense activities. Japan is slowly developing a political consensus to purchase an advanced U.S.-based TMD system. According to a recent study of potential missile defense architectures for Japan, completed by private U.S. and Japanese compa- nies, a Japanese TNID system could include advanced Patriot, THAAD, and naval- based Upper Tier systems guided by missile targeting systems built into AWACS radar aircraft. Washington should urge Tokyo to decide quickly on missile defense architecture and to purchase those systems from the United States. South Korea has a clear requirement to defend itself against North Korean mis- siles. Therefore, it is interested in obtaining TMD systems. Washington should urge Seoul to place a much higher priority on purchasing TN4D systems from the U.S. South Korea now relies on the approximately 192 Patriot missiles deployed in the Spring of 1994, which mainly protect U.S. forces in South Korea and are not enough to defend ROK forces or cities. 44 Australia, which refused to join the 1985 U.S. offer of SDI international coopera- tion, finally signed a missile defense research agreement with the U.S. in June 1995. 45 During the Gulf War, a jointly manned early warning satellite d 'ownlink in Nurrungar, Australia, helped target attacking Iraqi Scud missiles. The U.S. should encourage Australia to consider purchasing naval-based Upper Tier systems and placing them in air defense frigates which Australia plans to build. Washington should ask Canberra to consider hosting a multinational missile defense early wam- ing observation facility at Nurrungar. The facility would be open to Western allies cooperating in missile defense and to other states seeking neutral enforcement mechanisms for missile control or reduction agreements. Washington also should encourage missile defense cooperation between South Korea and Japan. The major reason for this is to help South Korea avoid any unin- tended damage from Chinese or North Korean missiles destroyed on their way to Japan. When the Upper Tier AEGIS cruisers are introduced to the 7th Fleet, the

43 Lieutenant Colonel John Gordon IV, "An Army Perspective of Theater Missile Defense," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1995, p. 40; Commander Jonathan Sears, "ne Northeast Asian Nuclear Threat." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1995, p. 43. 44 Bill Gertz, "U.S. offers no carrot to N. Korea on Patriot," The Washington Times, March 23, 1994, p. A4. 45 Gregor Ferguson, "Australia, U.S. Plan Ballistic Missile Defense Research Pact," Defense News, June 5, 1995, p. 12; Pilita Clark, "Australia to help US develop Star Wars II," The Sydney Morning Herald, May 19, 1995, p. 1. U.S. Navy should demonstrate their capability to allies and friends in Southeast Asia and make their use a regular part of multilateral exercises, like KANGA- ROO in Australia and RIMPAC, conducted bi-annually with most U.S. allies and friends in Asia. 0 Telling China to live up to its nonproliferation commitments and offering to share missile defense technology if China agrees to verifiable nuclear missile limitation.

Washington should continue to urge Beijing to abide fully by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to join the Missile Technology Control Regime. Washington also should urge Beijing to make its nuclear weapons programs more transparent and to consider eventual limitations on its nuclear arsenal. But added pressure on China is needed. The Chinese should be told that if they do not curb nuclear technology cooperation with countries like Pakistan and Iran, and missile sales to Pakistan, China will begin to define itself as an adversary. The Clinton Administration should obey the 1990 Arms Export Control Act that obligates the United States to impose trade sanctions on China because of its sale of missiles to Pakistan. U.S. intelligence agencies believe China has shipped over 30 M- 11 missiles to Pakistan. This charge cannot be swept under the rug. Failure to respond to China's sale of missiles makes a mockery of the Administration's nonproliferation policies. The Clinton Administration should devise a graduated schedule of sanctions that will be ended when China joins the MTCR.

Clinton should also explain to the Chinese that missile defenses are a justified and moral response to China's continued nuclear weapons buildup and its dem- onstrated willingness to engage in nuclear threats. Washington should tell Bei- jing that if it agrees to talks aimed at verifiable limits on its nuclear arsenal, the U.S. will make available to China early warning data. Selling advanced TMD systems to Taiwan, consistent with the Taiwan Rela- tions Act, and preparing U.S. naval TMD forces to help defend Taiwan. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) calls for the U.S. to "provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character" and to "maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopard- ize the security, or the social economic system of the people of Taiwan." Follow- ing China's missile "tests" designed to threaten Taiwan, sale of missile defense systems to Taiwan is consistent with the TRA. Raytheon Company is helping Taiwan build a variant of the Patriot PAC-2 called the Modified Air Defense System.46 Since this program does not respond to Taiwan's immediate defense needs, Washington should offer Taipei the more capable Patriot PA C-2 GEM- the most advanced variant in the U.S. Army-and consider offering THAAD if Beijing persists in threatening Taipei. Washington should make clear to Beijing

46 Jason Glashow and Theresa Hitchens, "U.S. Missile Defense Systems Lure Taiwan Interest," Defense News, August 21. 1995, P. 3; Naoaki Usui, "NTE Asia Ponders Response to Missile Threat," Defense News, September I I - 17, 1995, p. 14.


that the sale of missile defense systems to Taiwan does not threaten China. Rather, the purpose is to prevent China's nuclear blackmail of Taiwan. Washington also should prepare to use 7th Fleet AEGIS cruisers and destroyers armed with the Standard Upper Tier TMD missiles to defend Taiwan, consistent with the TRA. (D Offering India and Pakistan a deal: If they agree to negotiate verifiable lim- its and reductions of their nuclear and missile forces, the U.S. will offer them access to satellite intelligence to verify agreements and technology to help defend against missile attack. To advance non-proliferation initiatives between India and Pakistan, the United States should offer both countries missile defenses and technology if they agree to limit and reduce their nuclear and missile arsenals. A verifiable treaty to limit such systems might be facilitated by giving Indian and Pakistani officials access to a U.S. monitor that receives data from U.S. early warning and reconnaissance satel- lites or a similar monitor placed in another location. A monitor would enable both countries to observe each other's military sites and provide warning of a first strike. The agreement could be strengthened later by the sale of ground-based TMD sys- tems to both countries. After acquiring space-based missile defense systems, the U.S. might help enforce an Indian-Pakistan nuclear and missile reduction treaty by extending space-based missile defense coverage to both countries. Space-based de- fenses also could give Washington the option to intervene unilaterally to prevent a disastrous nuclear exchange.


The United States must develop a missile defense strategy for Asia. Missile defenses are needed to enhance the security of U.S. military forces in Asia, to safeguard Amer- ica's Asian friends and allies, and to encourage multilateral missile defense cooperation. This strategy is sorely needed to enable Americans and Asians to reduce their vulnerabil- ity to Chinese and future North Korean nuclear missiles. Both countries have demon- strated they are prepared to disregard conventions like the NPT and MTCR. China's will- ingness to use missiles to intimidate neighbors like Taiwan, in addition to concerns about instability in China or North Korea, compels Americans and Asians to plan jointly for ap- propriate missile defenses. Only the United States has the technical capability and the moral vision to prevent its allies from failing victim to nuclear blackmail or engaging in destabilizing nuclear prolif- eration. By responding to the threat of nuclear missiles in Asia, the U.S. can counter per- haps the most critical emerging threat to peace in that region. At the same time, by dem- onstrating determination to counter this threat, Washington will be strengthening its ex- tended nuclear and conventional deterrent in Asia while lessening the possibility that Asia could become destabilized by nuclear proliferation. Richard D. Fisher, Jr. Senior Policy Analyst


Richard Fisher

Distinguished Fellow in China Policy