Washington, D.C. – Top Communist Chinese military officials are being given
access to numerous American military installations , including Patrick Air
Force Base (PAFB), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), and Kennedy
Space Center (KSC). Officially, the tour is being touted as one to showcase
the quality of life and the morale of American troops. The tour, however,
also grants limited access to the Range Operations Control Center (ROCC) and
a Space Shuttle Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF), both of which are crucial
facilities to American launch operations.

Spacecoast Congressman, U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, who was not notified by the
Pentagon of this visit, called into question the itinerary and asked the
Secretary of Defense to remove the ROCC and OPF from the agenda. He also
requested that the Secretary permit a staffer from his office to accompany
the tour. These requests were rejected.

“I am aggravated and disturbed over the Administration’s ill-advised
decision to allow this visit to proceed as planned,” Rep. Weldon said.
“While I am cognizant of the Administration’s ostensible claim that the tour
of PAFB, CCAFS and KSC is benign, one cannot forget the fact that Chinese
Communist military officials are being shown American space lift hardware
and processing facilities. I also remember such benign access being
described at Los Alamos as well, and we know what the end result of that
policy was. I am being charitable when I describe Sino-American relations as
a strategic competition. The Chinese have stated that they want to pursue
and overtake the United States in the arena of military, civilian and
commercial space lift. This Administration has shown a bent toward
appeasement in its foreign policy, and it has produced poor results.

In 1996, Congressman Weldon led a Congressional investigation into Chinese
launch practices and uncovered Chinese attempts to saturate the global
launch market with their own rockets – at the expense of American launch
providers and the workforce at Cape Canaveral.

The issue of China’s space program is an area of continuing Congressional

“In the discussions between my office and the Administration, I highlighted
these concerns but to no avail. The fact that today, Communist Chinese
military officials were allowed to walk around PAFB, CCAFS and KSC and a
United States congressional staffer was denied simultaneous access is
nothing short of a disregard for the role of Congress,” Rep. Weldon

“Sadly today’s action by the Clinton-Gore Administration is part and parcel
of their appeasement policy toward Communist China. I will make inquiries
about this matter and see if further Congressional investigation is
warranted,” Rep. Weldon concluded.