COMMUNIST CHINA'S STRATEGIC WEAPONS PROGRAM

Created: 4/4/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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ihg inftJ/fgence orgonizafioni participated in the preparation of. fharesri'mafeV 1

The Central Intelligence Agency ondntelligence orgonirotions ol tho Deparl-

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mcnt* of Stole and Deferue, ihe AEC, and the NSA.

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Vice Adm. Rufut Toylor, Deputy Director. Central IntelligenceGeorge C. LV-nney,or the Director of Intelligence and Research, De-

* parhnent of Stale .

L Lowrance, for the Director. Defeme Intelligence Agency

Gen. Marshall.S. Garter, the Director. Notional Security Agency

: 'Dr. Chorle* H. Betchardt. for the Awiitant General Manager. Atomic Energy

COMMUNIST CHINA'S STRATEGIC WEAPONS PROGRAM

SCOPE NOTE

This memorandum discusses certain developments that bear on some of the important judgments in, "Communist China's Strategic WeaponsOP SECRET, ALL SOURCE. It is too early, however, to assess fully the significance of these developments. Thereairly good chance that enough information will come to hand during the next several months toomprehensive review of China's strategic weapons program, at which timeill be produced.

THE ESTIMATE

CHINA'S INTERNAL SITUATION

In our last estimate we expressed doubt that the regime would be abb to insulate China's nuclear aod missile program bom the disruptions of tbe Cultural Revolution. There is now good evidence that confusion and turmoil have spread to key organizations responsible for directing and implementing China's weapon development Top officials in the National Defense Scientific and Technological Commission and tbe Academy of Sciences have come under political attack, and there have been cases of suicide by beads of scientific institutes.

8 speech to representatives of national defense industries, research institutes, and schools. Premier Chou En-lai deplored the damage factional strife was causing military programs. Chou said tbat industrial elements were exceptionally factioo-ridden and had "foughteare named and upbraided two Red Guard groups that have been identified as contending factions in tbe Seventh Ministry of Machine Building (missiles) and said tbat tbeir Ministry had been particularly chaotic

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they

c have had difficulty in establishing how serious these disruptionsbeen. On the one band, construction work, missile firings, andhave continued throughout the Cultural Revolution. On the otherof production delays in certain

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"livid "that

other high priority military programi Though we lack on the missile and nuclear programs, there seems little "reason to doubt too have suffered to some degree from the general erosion of economic efficiency and managerial control.

this point we cannot go much beyond this very general judgment,potnl out that the confused political situation adds considerably toinvolved io estimating the status and prospects of China'sutogrim.

the icbm program

By the early partt appeared that the Chinese hadarge Launch facility (Launcht tbe Shuang-ch'eng-tzu Missile Test Range) capable ofissile in the ICBM or space booster category. The apparent readiness of this complex to support flight testing was the principal basis for our estimate that the Chinese could have an ICBM ready for deployment in the, and conceivably as early. Wc noted that this wouldight schedule, and should the Chinese encounter rrufor problems, the IOC would beumber of subsequent developments indicate either that mafor problems were indeed encountered or that there have been map* changes in the basic program

Sincehe Chinese have beenafor additionalruction around launch Complex B. This includes construction of new buildings and structures and the excavationarge pit cutting the rail line that had originally served the gantry at Complex B. Although it still would have been poislhle toissile to the gantry or launch pad by road, [_

to indicate that the

ith having easy access to lite launch complex.

indicates that some modification of the pad is under way.

here arc several possible explanations for these developments. The least likely is that tome booster stages were successfully fired from Launchefore the new construction began, and. the Chinese having accomplished what they wanted in that phase, are moving on to the next stage, possiblyrototype field site. We tend to rule out this expUnauoo because there was scarcely enough time (six months at the most) for the Chmese to have carried out such an important step in the development of their first large booster system. Furtlvermore. wc believe thereood chance that we would have detected some signs of such testing.

et

ore likely Interpretation is that the Chinese have changed the plans for their ICBM program- Here again there are several possible explanations. There could have been over hasty and faulty planning of tbe launch complex itself, or the Chinese may have decided that the entire missile system wasand are nowifferent launch facilityew or modified ICBM system.

hese hypotheses are only speculations at this point, however. It will probably be several months before the construction at Launchs far enough along toeasonably firm indication of what the Chinese have in mind and what it means for tbeir ICBM program. All that can be said with much confidence at this point is that if the Chinese have not abeady flight tested boosters from Launchnd have, in fact, altered tbeir plans, then there bas been slippage in tic program. The original pad might be ready for use by mid-summer. We estimate, therefore, that China's ICBM program has been delayed by "at least six months. Particularly in view of the major construction elsewhere within the Launch complex, wc believeore reasonable estimate is tbat the delay will amountear or more. It was estimated inhat the earliest conceivable date for the IOChinese ICBMe now believe that tbe earliest possible date should be set

MRBM PROGRAM

oe estimated that, although tbe evidence respecting troop training was inconclusive and evidence of other preparations for deployment was lacking the deployment of MRBM's was likely to begin "in tbe next six months orhe Chinese bad been working on an MRBM system for several years, and in5 we began to see signs of accelerated activity at the range. In6 tbe Chinese tested what wasissile-dcUvercd nuclear device. Though tbe deviceow yield and was apparently quite inefficient, we concluded that the Chinese could, if tbey wished, use tbe for MRBM warheads. Then in May and June

igh level of activity at the range. This suggested thatprogram might have reached the troop training stage. These werefactors on which we based our estimate of the possible timing of

ince then the intensive search thereumber of unidentified construction

appeared tooncentration of firings, and photography f

has continued; altbough projects that bear watching, we have been unable to identify any of these as MRBM field sites underThe apparent failure to begin deployment could indicate continuing problems with tbe first system, or, alternatively, it couldecision to proceed with the developmentew and unproved system. It is even possible that their deployment schedule may be influenced by their desire for an unproved warhead. We still believe (he Chinese intend an early deployment of an MRBM system; but in view of all the uncertainties, including the possible disruptions

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the Cultural Revolution, the time frame estimated for such deployment should be extended anywhereoonths.

CHINA'S NUCLEAR TESTING

hina's seventh nuclear test, which was conducted onecemberwas aimed at reducing the size and weightbermonucleardevice used tbe same nuclear materials, and lithium deuteridewere used in Cliina's three previous thermonuclear tests,[

silence concerning the test and the intlicatioiuj

cl tbe Lop Nor test area thatl

jalso point toward failure. The Quncse had been making rapid progress since their first thermonuclear experiment innd, though the recent failure has delayed the program, the setback may beinor one.

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