Wed, Aug 08, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Shipments of missile parts would breach US-Sino pact


A Chinese state company has transferred a dozen batches of missile components to Pakistan, in shipments which, if confirmed, would breach a Sino-US non-proliferation accord, a report said Monday.

Quoting unnamed US intelligence sources, The Washington Times reported US spy satellites had detected shipments of components as they arrived by truck at the China-Pakistan border on May 1.

The paper said the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation supplied the components for Pakistan's Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 missile programs.

US intelligence agencies have detected 12 such missile component transfers sent by ship and truck, according to the paper, which has close contacts in the intelligence community.

The export of missiles and components by Chinese state firms is one of the most contentious issues in the fractious US-China relationship.

If confirmed, the latest shipments would appear to infringe a November 2000 accord under which China committed not to export ballistic missile components restricted by a global anti-missile pact.

In return, the former US administration said it would process applications from US firms that wanted to launch satellites on Chinese rockets and not impose sanctions on Chinese firms for selling missiles to Pakistan and Iran.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher declined to comment on The Washington Times report. US officials habitually refuse to publicly divulge information related to intelligence matters. But he said Washington expected China to abide by the November 2000 deal.

"We intend to do our part ... we know that the Chinese are doing their part," Boucher said.

Ahead of a visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Colin Powell less than two weeks ago, the US formally protested the alleged shipments, The Washington Post reported late last month.

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