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Cablegate: Demarche Following China's January 2010 Intercept Flight-Test

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TO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 2381-2382
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C O R R E C T E D COPY (SUBJECT LINE)

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GENEVA: FOR CD DELEGATION E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2035

TAGS: CH MCAP PARM PREL TSPA

SUBJECT: DEMARCHE FOLLOWING CHINA'S JANUARY 2010 INTERCEPT FLIGHT-TEST

Classified By: EAP DAS David Shear, Reasons 1.4 (a),(d),(e),and (g)

1.(U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST. Embassy Beijing is instructed to deliver the demarche contained in paragraph 3 below to appropriate Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. The demarche in paragraph 3 should be handed over to MFA counterparts as a non-paper. Embassy is requested to report confirmation of delivery and any PRC reaction immediately. In the course of delivering the demarche to MFA officials, Embassy may also draw upon the contingency Q and A in paragraph 4 as Embassy determines appropriate.

2.(S//REL TO USA, FVEY) BACKGROUND: The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that on 11 January 2010, China launched an SC-19 missile from the Korla Missile Test Complex and successfully intercepted a near-simultaneously launched CSS-X-11 medium-range ballistic missile launched from the Shuangchengzi Space and Missile Center. The CSS-X-11 was launched from Shuangchengzi at 1150:00Z; the SC-19 was launched from Korla at 1152:42Z. U.S. missile warning satellites detected each missile's powered flight as well as the intercept, which occurred at 1157:31Z at an altitude of approximately 250 kilometers. No debris from this test remains on-orbit. A Chinese news service published an article on 11 January 2010 stating, "On 11 January, China conducted a test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology within its own territory. The test has achieved the expected objective. The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country." An SC-19 was used previously as the payload booster for the January 11, 2007, direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) intercept of the Chinese FY-1C weather satellite. Previous SC-19 DA-ASAT flight-tests were conducted in 2005 and 2006. This test is assessed to have furthered both Chinese ASAT and ballistic missile defense (BMD) technologies. (S//NF) Due to the sensitivity of the intelligence that would have to be disclosed to substantiate the U.S. assessment, the U.S. Government in its demarche to the PRC Government will not associate the January 2010 SC-19 intercept flight-test with past SC-19 ASAT flight-tests. The United States will request assistance from our Asia-Pacific allies Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea in demarching China in a fashion similar to the U.S. approach. END BACKGROUND.

3.(S/REL CH) BEGIN U.S. DEMARCHE:

-- We noted with interest the January 11 Xinhua report announcing the conduct of a ground-based midcourse missile interception within China's territory.

-- On January 11, 2010, the United States detected two geographically separated missile launch events with an exo-atmospheric collision also being observed by space-based sensors.

-- For the purpose of increasing transparency, building confidence, and avoiding misperceptions and miscalculations, the United States requests answers to the following questions:

---- What was the purpose of this intercept flight-test? Was the intercept flight-test conducted on January 11, 2010, part of a ballistic missile defense (BMD) development program?

---- The U.S. position on the relationship between missile defense, stability, and deterrence is well-known. In light of China's testing activity, how does China view missile defense and its relationship to the Asia-Pacific military balance, deterrence, and stability?

---- What is the direction of China's BMD program? Will China develop and field BMD systems and capabilities to defend its deployed military forces against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, as well as for the protection of populations and territory against longer-range ballistic missiles?

---- Which foreign ballistic missile threats are China's BMD development and testing program intended to defend against?

---- What steps were taken to minimize the creation of orbital debris?

-- In order to enhance transparency between our countries on BMD issues, the United States reiterates its desire to conduct a bilateral dialogue on strategic security issues to better understand the plans and intentions of each other. END U.S. DEMARCHE POINTS AND NON-PAPER.

4.(U) BEGIN CONTINGENCY Q AND A: Contingency: If asked about the Obama Administration's position regarding China's earlier direct-ascent anti-satellite flight-test:

-- U.S. objections to China's direct-ascent anti-satellite testing previously delivered in January 2007 and January 2008 demarches and U.S. concerns voiced at the Conference on Disarmament and at the United Nations are still valid and reflect the policy of the United States.

-- Since the U.S. demarche delivered on January 15, 2007, the United States has steadfastly urged China not to conduct further anti-satellite weapons flight-testing in space through diplomatic, military-to-military, and scientific channels. END CONTINGENCY Q AND A.
CLINTON

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