The Obama administration recently notified Congress that it has agreed to license exports of sensitive U.S. space technology to China from a U.S. company that was fined in the past for illegally supplying space support that improved Chinese ballistic missiles.
The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the unit that licenses exports of sensitive technology, notified House and Senate leaders on Wednesday of plans to go ahead with an export license for a deal between Space Systems/Loral and AsiaSat, a company owned in part by a Chinese state-run investment company linked to past satellite deals in the 1990s.
Additionally, U.S. government reports indicate that China’s People’s Liberation Army, which is currently engaged in a major space warfare program that involves anti-satellite missiles and lasers, used AsiaSat communications satellites in the past.
An intelligence report produced by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated that AsiaSat satellites were used by the People’s Liberation Army for military-related communications.
Congressional investigators who have been probing the Loral-AsiaSat deal since earlier this year are questioning whether it is legal under U.S. export laws and restrictions on transfers to China.
Documents obtained by the Free Beacon reveal that the Obama administration appeared to ignore two U.S. laws prohibiting space cooperation with China. They include sanctions against selling military goods to China imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre by Chinese military forces, and a 1999 law requiring all space exports to China to be treated as military transfers.