Saturday, February 15, 2014

On Saturday, February 15, 2014 by Luke iMan in , ,    No comments
China secretly sold DF-21 ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia with US government approval in 2007, according to a recent report from Newsweek magazine.

Citing a "well-placed intelligence source," the magazine reported that the CIA sanctioned the sale of the DF-21 mid-range ballistic missiles developed by the China Changfeng Mechanics and Electronics Technology Academy, but only after confirmation that they were not the nuclear-capable variants of the missiles.

The US support for the sale is said to be surprising given that previous Sino-Saudi arms deals in 1988 involving the DF-3, an earlier-version in the Dong Feng missile series, were publicly criticized by Washington.
Between the spring and summer of 2007, the CIA and senior officials from the Saudi air force reportedly met for a series of secret meetings that hammered out the way and the means in which Saudi Arabia would acquire the new missiles. Two CIA analysts then traveled to Saudi Arabia to ensure that the missiles were not capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The source cited by Newsweek said that the arrangements were so sensitive that then-deputy CIA director Stephen Kappes buried the CIA's US$600,000-$700,000 logistical costs in a vaguely worded internal budget report.

The biggest advantage of the DF-21 is said to be their solid fuel, which allows the missiles to be launched quicker and with less maintenance costs. The missiles are capable of being launched from the roadside, though this is not believed to be particularly important to Saudi forces.

The CIA and the White House have declined to comment on the claims, while the Chinese and Saudi embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

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