SPECIAL SEMINAR ON CHINA’S CHALLENGES TO US ARMS CONTROL BY – Professor Phillip Karber, Georgetown University

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 15/07/2013
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

MAI seminar room,H5.95 Building H, 5th floor



On the 11th of December, 2009, the People’s Liberation Army officially announced that for the preceding two decades the engineers of the Second Artillery Corps, China’s strategic missile command, had been building 5,000 kilometers of underground tunnels for the deployment of their nuclear weapons and missile launch vehicles. This study is the result of a five years of research by the professor and his students on this topic using original Chinese language source materials that resulted in a 1.4 million word data base and over 200 hours of downloaded video.

The report highlights three major challenges to American Arms Control policy:

1. That a massive series of underground storage sites dispersed around many provinces of China, and buried 1,000 feet underground makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accurately gauge the number of China’s modern mobile launchers as well as account for additional reload, reserve and retired nuclear warheads — a Challenge to President Obama’s goal of a World Without Nuclear Weapons unless addressed with extensive inspection.

2. That the Second Artillery Corps’ recent emphasis on “warfighting” — with some 1,700 “dual capable” tactical and theater missile surged from tunnels aimed at US and allied targets in Asia — a Challenge, that, uncorrected by getting those forces constrained via arms control, will ultimately undermine the US-Soviet INF Treaty under which they disarmed to zero in the same categories of systems.

3. That the emerging evidence that China is deploying large, solid-fuel, rail and road mobile ICBMs in the tunnels, which when combined with discussion in Chinese sources about their near term potential to add multiple warheads on these systems, poses the possibility that sometime between now and 2020 the PLA may field MIRV — a Challenge to the viability of agreed deep cuts under the recent bi-lateral US-Russian START II treaty.

The study argues that rather than ignore or downplay these potential challenges, the American Arms Control community could make a major contribution by searching for creative ways to get the Underground Great Wall and the assets deployed there under negotiated constraint.


Biography – Professor Phillip Karber, Georgetown University

Professor Karber has a long background in arms control and defense. In the late 1960s, he was on the staff of the Congressional Joint Committee of Atomic Energy at the time of the NPT, SALT and ABM agreements. In the mid-1970s he Directed NSSM/Project 186, the National Security Council mandated net assessment of US-Soviet forces and in the early 1980s was the Founding Director of the DoD Strategic Concepts Development Center, serving as “strategy advisor” to the Secretary of Defense and JCS Chairman. Prior to the Reykjavik Summit, he ran the only US Government study of the feasibility and requirements needed to achieve President Reagan’s vision of “A World Without Nuclear Weapons.” Committed to a bi-partisan approach that emphasized both defense and negotiated constraint, in the late 1980s Karber was an arms control consultant to the Chairmen of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees as well as the Secretary General of NATO, and played a significant role in the INF and CFE treaties. At the end of the Cold War he was a member of the US delegation to the Quadripartite Talks on Security in Asia (between China, Russian, Japan and the US).

In civilian life, Karber headed the “Center for Technology and Public Policy” of the BDM Corporation, was a Board member representing the workers at Weirton Steel, America’s first employee owned manufactoring industry, and served as Chairman of JFK-IAT, the consortium that conducted the privatized modernization of New York’s International Terminal at Kennedy Airport.

Karber has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown since 1978, is the founder of their Asian Arms Control Project, and his recent courses include: Arms Control & Multipolarity; Strategy & Technology in Asia; and Contemporary Chinese Military Thought.

ROOM 5.95
Monash University Caulfield