- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

The Clinton administration announced yesterday that it will not impose sanctions on China for selling missile technology and components to Iran and Pakistan, although it did impose sanctions on those countries for purchasing the equipment.
U.S. officials said they waived the sanctions in exchange for a promise from a Chinese government spokesman to curb further sales, the third time since 1992 that the U.S. government has lifted or waived sanctions based on Beijing's promises to curb further sales of missile-related goods.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said in a statement, carried by the official Xinhua news agency, that "China has no intention to assist, in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons."
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.S. government welcomed the statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
"This development can strengthen cooperation between the United States and China to achieve our common objective of preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that threaten regional and international security," he said.
"Given the relationship between missile nonproliferation and peaceful space cooperation, the United States will now resume the processing of licenses that are necessary for commercial space cooperation between the U.S. and Chinese companies, such as launching U.S. satellites in China," Mr. Boucher said.
Mr. Sun's statement strongly resembled statements made by Chinese government officials in 1992 and 1994 when U.S. sanctions for China's sales of missiles and know-how were waived.
"While it's encouraging that the Clinton administration has finally at the twelfth hour decided to adhere to U.S. law in imposing sanctions, it is utterly discouraging that they decided to waive those sanctions and secured nothing from the Chinese other than a repetition of worthless pledges they made in 1992 and 1994," said a Senate aide involved in weapons-proliferation issues.
The sanctions imposed on Pakistan and Iran block all export licenses to those countries for two years. Those sanctions are not likely to have much effect on the countries because of their limited trade with the United States.
The action, announced by the State Department, means U.S. satellite companies will be able to launch more U.S. satellites on Chinese rocket boosters, a practice that has resulted in the improper sharing of U.S. missile technology by at least three U.S. manufacturers.
U.S. intelligence officials have said the missile know-how improved the reliability of Chinese nuclear missiles, including more than a dozen the CIA believes are targeted on U.S. cities.
The U.S. waiver came under a law that requires sanctions on nations engaged in missile and related technology sales to nations that are not part of the 29-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
China promised in the past to abide by the terms of the MTCR without becoming a formal signatory.
Numerous U.S. intelligence reports have indicated China's sales have continued unabated for several years.
The CIA stated in its semiannual report to Congress made public in February that China was continuing to sell missile goods to Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, despite pledges not to do so.
With regard to Pakistan, the report concluded that "some ballistic missile assistance continues." The report also stated that China was involved in missile-related transfers to Libya and Syria.
Two U.S. satellite makers, Loral Space & Communications Ltd., and Hughes Electronics, currently are under federal investigation for improperly sharing missile technology with China in the mid-1990s.
Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz was one of the largest contributors to President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and lobbied aggressively to loosen controls on satellite exports to China.
A third U.S. company, Lockheed Martin, agreed in June to pay a fine of $13 million for the company's role in improperly sharing missile-related technology with China.
Mr. Boucher said that if China implements its latest commitment, it would be "another important step by China to join the international nonproliferation mainstream."
Sanctions could be imposed on China in the future if it does not live up to the latest promises, he said.
Mr. Boucher said the transfers involved Chinese "entities" that sold complete missiles, major subsystems or production facilities to Pakistan.
Other officials said the reference was to China's sale of M-11 missiles to Pakistan and related production assistance.
Other Chinese firms sold transfers of less significant missile-related components or technology to Iran, he said.
In lifting sanctions on China in 1994, the State Department said China had agreed it will "not export ground-to-ground missiles" barred under the MTCR.
China's foreign minister at the time, Qian Qichen, stated in Washington that after the U.S. sanctions are lifted, "China will make the commitment not to sell the missiles."
The Bush administration in 1992 announced it was lifting missile sanctions after Beijing issued a promise not to sell missiles to nations outside the MTCR.

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