[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[January 12, 1998]
[Pages 53-55]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov]

Letter to Congressional Leaders on the China-United States Nuclear 
Cooperation Agreement
January 12, 1998

Dear __________:
    I am writing to you with respect to sections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of 
Public Law 99-183, relating to the approval and implementation of the 
Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation Between the United States and the 
People's Republic of China, and with respect to section 902(a)(6)(B) of 
Public Law 101-246. The sections of Public Law 99-183 cited above 
require certifications to the Congress and a report to the Speaker of 
the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Committee on 
Foreign Relations of the Senate before exports or retransfers to China 
under the Agreement may begin. Sections 902(a)6(B)(i), (ii) and (iii) of 
Public Law 101-246 require a certification to the Congress and report to 
the Congress before terminating the suspensions and automatic 
disapprovals of nuclear cooperation with China.
    I have made the certifications pursuant to section (b)(1) of Public 
Law 99-183 and section 902(a)(6)(B)(i) of Public Law 101-246, a copy of 
which is enclosed. The certifications pursuant to section (b)(1) of 
Public Law 99-183 satisfy

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the condition under section 902(a)(6)(B)(ii). Submitted herewith, in 
accordance with the requirements of section (b)(2) of Public Law 99-183, 
is a report in unclassified form detailing the history and current 
developments in the nonproliferation policies, practices and assurances 
of the People's Republic of China. Because of the information controls 
that apply to the classified report, I am transmitting it by separate 
letter to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the 
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
    In accordance with Public Law 99-183, I have certified as to three 
    (A) That the reciprocal arrangements made pursuant to Article 8 of 
the Agreement have been designed to be effective in ensuring that any 
nuclear material, facilities or components provided under the Agreement 
shall be utilized solely for intended peaceful purposes as set forth in 
the Agreement.
        The arrangements for exchanges of information and visits are 
        provided for in a Memorandum of Understanding initialed on June 
        23, 1987. Side notes on protection of business confidential 
        information were signed on October 22, 1997. These documents, 
        along with a detailed explanation of my certification, are 
        enclosed. These arrangements will provide the United States with 
        the right to obtain all the information necessary to maintain an 
        inventory of the items subject to the Agreement. This will 
        include information on the operation of facilities subject to 
        the Agreement, the isotopic composition, physical form and 
        quantity of material subject to the Agreement and the places 
        where items subject to the Agreement are used or kept. The 
        arrangements also provide the United States with the right to 
        confirm through on-site visits the use of all items subject to 
        the Agreement. Finally, the arrangements apply as long as the 
        provisions of Article 8(2) of the Agreement continue in effect, 
        that is, as long as items subject to the Agreement remain in 
        China's territory or under its jurisdiction or control. My 
        determination that these arrangements have been designed to be 
        effective in ensuring that items provided under the Agreement 
        are utilized for intended peaceful purposes is based on 
        consideration of a range of factors, including the limited scope 
        of nuclear cooperation permitted under the Agreement, U.S. 
        export-control procedures that will apply to any transfers to 
        China under the Agreement, the fact that the People's Republic 
        of China is a nuclear-weapon state and that the safeguards of 
        the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or their 
        equivalent are not required by the Atomic Energy Act for 
        agreements for cooperation with nuclear weapon states. These 
        arrangements will be published in the Federal Register using the 
        procedure applicable to subsequent arrangements under section 
        131(a) of the Atomic Energy Act.
    (B) That the Government of the People's Republic of China has 
provided additional information concerning its nuclear nonproliferation 
policies and that, based on this and all other information available to 
the United States Government, the People's Republic of China is not in 
violation of paragraph (2) of section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act of 
        The United States Government has received additional information 
        from the People's Republic of China concerning its 
        nonproliferation policies since the enactment of Public Law 99-
        183 on December 16, 1985, most recently, China's May 1996 
        statement, its May 1997 State Council Notice on nuclear export 
        policy and its September 1997 nuclear export control regulations 
        (all of which are discussed in the enclosed unclassified report 
        on China's nonproliferation policies and practices). On the 
        basis of this and all other information available to the United 
        States Government, I conclude that there is no legal bar to 
        cooperation in this area, and, in particular, that paragraph (2) 
        of section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act does not foreclose 
        nuclear cooperation. The Government of the People's Republic of 
        China has made substantial strides in joining the international 
        nonproliferation regime, and in putting in place a comprehensive 
        system of nuclear-related, nationwide export controls, since the 
        nuclear cooperation agreement was concluded in 1985. I believe 
        the initiation of cooperation under the Agreement will bring 
        significant nonproliferation benefits to the United States.
    (C) That the obligation to consider favorably a request to carry out 
activities described in Article 5(2) of the Agreement shall not 

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the decision of the United States to approve or disapprove such a 
        The U.S. consent rights provided for in Article 5(2) of the 
        Agreement satisfy this standard because the specific language 
        used ensures that the United States must exercise an approval 
        right before the activity in question is carried out. During 
        Congressional consideration of the Agreement, the executive 
        branch provided both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and 
        the House Foreign Affairs Committee with a legal memorandum on 
        issues relating to the Agreement which covered this point in 
    In accordance with Public Law 101-246, I have certified that China 
has provided clear and unequivocal assurances to the United States that 
it is not assisting and will not assist any nonnuclear-weapon state, 
either directly or indirectly, in acquiring nuclear explosive devices or 
the material and components for such devices. This certification is 
based on the statements, policies, and actions by China that were 
discussed above in connection with the certification under section 
(b)(1)(A) of Public Law 99-183.
    Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 902(b)(2) of the 
Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 (Public 
Law 101-246), I hereby report to the Congress that it is in the national 
interest of the United States to terminate the suspensions and automatic 
disapprovals under section 902(a)(6). A document discussing the 
rationale for this report is enclosed. I believe the Agreement will have 
a significant, positive impact in promoting U.S. nonproliferation and 
national security interests with China and in building a stronger 
bilateral relationship with China based on respect for international 
    This report under section 902(b)(2) satisfies the condition under 
section 902(a)(6)(B)(iii).
    With the submission of the certifications and reports called for by 
Public Law 99-183 and Public Law 101-246, I am pleased that the process 
is underway to begin nuclear cooperation with China.

                                                      William J. Clinton

Note: Identical letters were sent to Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House 
of Representatives; Albert Gore, Jr., President of the Senate; Jesse 
Helms, chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; and Benjamin A. 
Gilman, chairman, House Committee on International Relations. This 
letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 15. 
The memorandum of January 12 on certifications relating to the China-
U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement is listed in Appendix D at the end of 
this volume.