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Commission: China Taking Advantage of U.S. Friendship

The long-held policy of "constructive engagement" with China has turned destructive for the United States, a new report by a congressionally appointed commission insists.

According to the U.S.-China Security Review Commission appointed by Congress in October 2000, the Chinese government has taken advantage of American friendliness to become a bigger threat than ever.

"It needs to be corrected, particularly today as China grows in economic and military strength, and the United States plays a very substantial role in contributing to that rise in military and economic strength," said C. Richard D'Amato, chairman of the U.S.-China Security Review Commission.

The commission, organized to "monitor, investigate and report to Congress on the national security impacts of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the U.S. and China," concluded that "U.S. policy toward China has lacked consistency and depth and has often been driven by narrow commercial interests, specific human rights issues or particular military and security concerns."

Among the specifics, the report says China currently has the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Experts say the Chinese, who are rapidly increasing their arsenal, can hit as far inland as Mississippi.

"We are concerned when we see constant rhetorical attacks on the United States, constant warnings to the United States, that if push comes to shove, China is perfectly happy to fight a war against us, and then to see a strategic doctrine from the Chinese military that lays out the ways in which they propose to win that war. That's very bothersome. You'd have to be an idiot not to take that seriously," said Michael Ledeen, vice chairman of the panel.

Equally disconcerting to the commission is that as China develops this technology it sells it, often to terror-sponsor states like Iraq and Iran.

The research also shows that Beijing is one of the world's leading sources of ballistic missiles and nuclear materials to rogue governments, along with technology and components for weapons of mass destruction.

The proliferation comes amidst broken pledges to the United States that it would stop such proliferation.

The 12-person panel said much of the engagement policy has been pushed at the presidential level ever since former President Richard Nixon renewed relations with Beijing three decades ago. But they also believe that Congress has dropped the ball.

"Congress has, by and large, let this thing go and tended to assume the best hypotheses rather than facing the worst hypotheses, and we think that everyone will be better served if Congress gets more engaged," Ledeen said.