Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, questioned Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today on the unveiling of a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea. In response to questioning by Turner Panetta replied: “I’m sure there’s been some help coming from China…clearly there has been some assistance along those lines.”
This week, Turner wrote to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence on this issue.
“Of deep concern…are allegations that the missile…is based on Chinese technology, in violation of international obligations and a threat to the national security interest of the United States,” wrote Turner.
In March of this year, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command testified before the House Armed Services Committee that, “there is development within North Korea of a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile system that we’ve observed.” Before he left the Pentagon, Secretary Gates issued a similar warning in 2011.
Echoing these concerns, Mr. Richard Fisher, a leading specialist in Chinese military technology, wrote to Turner in a letter noting that “the 16-wheel transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) for this new missile is very likely based on a Chinese design. There is even the possibility that it is manufactured in China for North Korea’s use.”
“The prospect of Chinese support for this program, which ‘would require approval from the highest levels of China’s government and from the People’s Liberation Army’, means that China is enabling North Korea to deploy ICBMs that could be tipped with nuclear warheads aimed at the United States. Such cooperation therefore poses a direct threat to the security of the American people,” added Turner.
NOTE: The letter to Secretary Clinton and Director Clapper can be found here.