Prepared Testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: China's Proliferation to North Korea and Iran, and its Role in Addressing the Nuclear and Missile Situation in Both Countries

September 14, 2006

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Two events occurred this past summer that give these issues particular salience: the July 4 North Korean missile tests and Hezbollah’s use of Chinese-designed C-802 “SILKWORM” anti-ship cruise missiles to strike an Israeli naval vessel off the coast of Lebanon on July 15. These two cases stand as examples of how China’s proliferation behavior past and present can come back to haunt it, even placing its own political interests in jeopardy. This would be a good time for Beijing to re-evaluate its relationships with both Pyongyang and Tehran, and indeed whether and how it does so will demonstrate the degree to which China has made the strategic choice to conduct itself, in Robert Zoellick’s famous words, as a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. The question is whether China will equate its own interests with the interests of the international community. We believe it should, and that such a policy would accord with China’s own long-term best interests.