GLOBAL EXCLUSIVE – China running Pakistan nukes: intel. PART 2
The Klaxon has obtained an extensive, top-level intelligence dossier exposing in high detail China’s alleged central role in Pakistan’s rapidly advancing nuclear weapons capabilities. China has shifted its delivery of nuclear materials to Pakistan from air to sea to “avoid detection”, and is allegedly assisting Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation via third-party countries. This is Part Two. Anthony Klanreports.
China shifting nuclear fuel supply to Pakistan from air to sea to reduce international detection
Pakistan’s civilian nuclear power plants providing cover for its nuclear weapons proliferation
“Unusually high” demand for nuclear fuel for Pakistan’s K2 civilian power reactor
Comes amid reactivation of notorious highly enriched uranium weapons plant at Kahuta
China acting as “conduit”, helping traffic sensitive tech from other nations to Pakistan
China has recently shifted its transportation of nuclear fuel to Pakistan from air to sea to avoid detection, and has been facilitating Islamabad’s mounting nuclear weapons capabilities by acting as a third-party “conduit” between Pakistan and other nations, according to multiple, high-level, international intelligence sources.
The Klaxon has obtained details of two specific alleged transfers of sensitive technology from Taiwan to Pakistan, with each shipment routing through China, in what sources say is part of a deliberate ploy by Beijing to reduce the likelihood of detection by international bodies.
The latest revelations follow The Klaxon’s expose detailing a string of specific alleged transfers of sensitive technology from China directly to Pakistan, with the trafficking facilitated via Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing.
High-level intelligence sources say they have also recently detected an “unusually high” level of demand for nuclear fuel for Pakistan’s new Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2, or “K2”, which is subject to the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog.
That irregular demand comes amid recent activities at Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratories which produce highly enriched uranium, and which are not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
“The unusual high demand for the K-2 fuel comes at the backdrop of the reactivation of the infamous Kahuta Enrichment plant, an un-safeguarded facility of the infamous Dr AQ Khan,” said one high-level intelligence source.
The Khan Research Laboratories at Kahuta, about 50kms from Islamabad in the nation’s north, play a key role in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development and are closely involved in the development of long-range missiles.
The laboratories were created by nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan, a Western Europe-educated Pakistani nuclear physicist, whose work was behind the May 1998 detonation of Pakistan’s first successful nuclear device.
In 2004 Khan famously admitted selling nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya, and in 2009 was labelled a “serious proliferation risk” by the US Obama administration.
The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), the Pakistan government agency responsible for nuclear power, had until recently been importing most of its nuclear fuel through air transport but shipments were increasingly occurring via sea, one high-level intelligence source told The Klaxon.
“A recent change in the pattern of transportation of nuclear fuel from China to Pakistan by sea route for security reasons has come to notice,” the source said.
“The (Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission) has cited non-availability/timely flight permissions for air sorties as the reason for the change in pattern.
“The change in pattern could provide a more secure/covert way for Pakistan to receive sensitive materials and equipment from China.”
Alongside the strong of alleged transfers of sensitive technology directly from China to Pakistan, a string of which The Klaxon revealed last week, Beijing was also acting as a “conduit” between Pakistan and other countries, one high-level source said.
“In one such case, NES Technologies Pakistan made efforts to procure some sensitive items manufactured by MOXA, a Taiwanese based company engaged in providing IT solutions,” the source said.
“To avoid being detected, NES Technologies requested the supplier to deliver the items at a location in China, suggesting that its onward shipment to Pakistan would be arranged by a Pakistan firm.”
In another case, in September 2018, Pakistan allegedly made similar efforts to source sensitive equipment from a Taiwanese company called FOMEX Technologies Co Ltd, with arrangements again allegedly made through China.
Taiwan’s FOMEX Technologies allegedly told Pakistan to “make the payment in cash” to “evade the tracking of the transaction”, one senior intelligence source told The Klaxon.
“A Pakistan front company DuTu Impex, sanctioned by the US, was involved in the procurement process,” the source said.
“FOMEX Technologies was requested by the Pakistan front company to export the machinery to ‘Amber Capacitors’, another front company used by Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division”.
The Strategic Plans Divison Force is a branch of Pakistan’s National Command Authority and is the agency responsible for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons stockpile.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office did not respond to requests for comment.
China has denied improperly providing Pakistan with nuclear weapons technology.
Earlier this month the US, India, Japan and Australia held the first leader-level meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or ‘Quad’, an informal strategic and security information coalition.
Ties between the four democratic nations have been growing in response to China’s increasingly aggressive and expansionist activities.
Part 1 – China running Pakistan nukes. Source: The Klaxon.
The alleged use of “purpose created” or sham, “front”, companies in the trafficking of sensitive nuclear technology outlined by senior intelligence sources follows a similar pattern to activities uncovered by US authorities in 2019.
In January 2020 the US Department of Justice announced it had indicted five men for allegedly operating an “international procurement network” to “export US-origin goods to Pakistan’s nuclear program”.
Between September 2014 and October 2019, the men allegedly engaged in 38 illicit shipments via a “network of front companies” registered in Pakistan, the UK, Canada and Hong Kong.
The goods were purchased from 29 legitimate US companies, using the sham companies, however the items were allegedly being purchased on behalf of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the Advanced Engineering Research Organisation (AERO), an arm of the Pakistan Defence Force.
Both the PAEC and AERO are on the US Commerce Department’s “Entity List”, of companies considered to be engaging in activities “contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests” and so require special export licenses to obtain products from the US.
(No licences were obtained for the 38 shipments).
“The alleged behavior of these five individuals presented more than a violation of U.S. export laws, it posed a potential threat to the national security interests of the United States and to the delicate balance of power among nations within the region,” US Homeland Security Investigations spokesman Jason Molina said at the time.
One senior intelligence source told The Klaxon that over the past two years “intensified activity has been observed in the international nuclear circuit” with Pakistan a key player.
“A serious risk exists in the reverse engineering of controlled items, alongside the use of some original parts,” the source said.
China continued to play a central role in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons proliferation, despite Pakistan not being a signatory to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and despite the NSG’s open objections to Beijing’s activities, one senior intelligence source said.
(The NSG is a multilateral export control regime of 48 countries aimed at preventing nuclear proliferation by controlling technology and equipment used to manufacture nuclear weapons.)
Beijing’s key involvement was illustrated by the development of nuclear weapons facilities “in parallel” with civilian nuclear power plants in Pakistan funded by China.
“This nexus has helped Pakistan to develop its strategic capability, specifically in the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons,” one senior intelligence source said.
“A close observation of the operationalisation of Pakistan’s unsafe guarded plutonium production reactors at Khushab complex indicates that these reactors have come up in parallel with the construction of Chasma nuclear power plants, largely supported by China in contravention to various international treaties.”
Both the Chasma Nuclear Power Complex (or CHASNUPP) and the the Khushab Nuclear Complex are located in Pakistan’s Punjab Provence.
The Chasma Nuclear Power Complex (CHASNUPP) is a major nuclear power plant complex which generates electricity for industrial purposes and whose four nuclear reactors, which became operational between 2000 and 2017, have been built or heavily financed by China.
The Khushab Nuclear Complex is a plutonium production nuclear reactor and a key plank in Pakistan’s program of producing plutonium and tritium for use in compact nuclear warheads.
The facility, like the Khan Research Laboratories enrichment plant at Kahuta, is not subject to IAEA inspections and so is “un-safeguarded”.
Its four nuclear plants became operational between 1997 and 2014.
Senior intelligence sources say the “simultaneous expansion” of nuclear plants at the two facilities highly suggests China’s close involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons proliferation.
“This uncanny parallelism leads one to believe that Pakistan has received most of the equipment/material for operationalising un-safeguarded (Khushab) reactors from China along with the supply destined for the civilian power plants at Chashma,” one high-level intelligence source told The Klaxon.
Plant (Safeguarded) Year of Completion | Plant (Unsafeguarded) Year of Completion
CHASNUPP-1 2000 Khushab-1 1997
CHASNUPP-2 2011 Khushab-2 2009
CHASNUPP-3 2016 Khushab-3 2011
CHASNUPP-4 2017 Khushab-4 2014
The Khushab facility is run by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).
Between the four Khushab reactors, it is estimated that Pakistan can produce between 24 and 48 kilograms of “weapons-grade plutonium” each year.
Security sources said they believed China’s recent shift toward delivering nuclear fuel by sea, rather than by air, could provide a “more secure/covert way for Pakistan to receive sensitive materials and equipment from China”.
Pakistan currently has plans under way to develop a fifth nuclear plant at each of the Chasma Nuclear Power Complex (CHASNUPP-5) and the Khushab Nuclear Complex (Khushab-5).
CHASSNUPP-1, a pressurised water reactor which became operational in 2000, was imported to Pakistan from China, and was the first Chinese export of a nuclear power plant.
CHASSNUPP-2 became operational in February 2011 and was built by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
Pakistan announced CHASSNUPP-3 and CHASSNUPP-4 in 2008 and in March 2010 China said it would provide 82% of the US$1.912 billion cost of construction via low-interest loans.
The two reactors became operational in October 2016 and July 2017 respectively.
How The Klaxon broke the story. Source: The Klaxon
China committed to providing the nuclear fuel for each of the four CHASSNUPP nuclear reactors for their lifetimes, which is about 40 years.
Neither Pakistan or India are members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
China, which joined the NSG in 2004, has opposed India joining the NSG, unless Pakistan is also permitted entry.
China continued to supply nuclear equipment and materials to Pakistan despite NSG’s objection, one senior intelligence source said.
“Notable here is the much ‘visible nexus’ between the NSG member (China) and a non-signatory (Pakistan), and the sheer audacity with which it is done.”
China and Pakistan have become increasingly close over the past decade, particularly under the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship component of Beijing’s international Belt and Road infrastructure program, which was announced in 2015.
The infrastructure program has been widely criticised as being a veil for Chinese colonial expansion.
It is seen as lumping poor countries with unsustainable amounts of debt and undermining their sovereignty, enabling China to exert control and influence over them.
In late 2018 Pakistan’s Government publicly attempted to push back against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, declaring it a bad deal, but it was almost immediately overruled by Pakistan’s powerful military, which has said it would defend the program “at all costs”.
As revealed by The Klaxon last year, a team of key Coronavirus scientists from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology have been conducting experiments of dangerous pathogens in “collaboration” with Pakistan for up to five years under the auspices of China’s opaque Belt and Road infrastructure scheme.
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