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Inside the Ring
Question of the Day
Chinese arms proliferation
Numerous diplomatic cables from Beijing show that Chinese companies are continuing to sell to Iran and other states goods for the production of weapons of mass destruction because the Beijing government has failed to stem the activities.
It also says an embassy political officer asked China’s Chen Kai, a Foreign Ministry arms-control official, about two Chinese companies, Zibo Chemet and Dalian Liaosin Trading Co., and was told the Chinese were investigating one of the companies’ export activities.
Another cable, dated April 11, 2008, also presents a remarkable example of Chinese dissembling regarding a shipment of chemicals used in the making of poison gas.
The cable, labeled “secret,” says that “China determined that the end-user of sodium sulfide to be transported on the M/V Iran Teyfouri is located in Armenia and not Iran, MFA Arms Control and Disarmament Department Chemical and Biological Weapons Division Deputy DirectorYang Yi told PolOff on April 11.”
According to the cable, Ms. Yang read from a “prepared points” paper that said China attached “great importance” to intelligence on arms proliferation provided by the United States and conducted an immediate and thorough investigation.
Ms. Yang then made the remarkable statement that the shipment from the China Northern Chemical and Minerals Co. was not to Iran but to Armenia. The Chinese official claimed the shipment was just making a stop at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas before being transferred to Armenia.
“When asked if this controlled chemical was a typical Chinese export to Armenia, Yang said she is not certain, but claimed the chemical is ‘very common’ in mining and textile operations. She did not have permission to share the name of the Armenian firm,” the cable states.
Without calling Ms. Yang a liar, the cable says an embassy political officer “pointed out that when the M/V Iran Teyfouri sailed from Tianjin in January, the [Chinese] investigation concluded that the vessel stopped in Singapore. However, publicly available information indicates the vessel sailed directly to Iran. This calls into question the credibility of the information provided to [Chinese] investigators. How can China be certain the results of this investigation are accurate? Yang said she only has authorization to report that the Chinese investigation shows the final destination of the cargo is Armenia.”
The cable indicates Chinese government complicity in hiding proliferation activities by Chinese companies.
A third cable, from July 11, 2009, from the secretary of state, says U.S. intelligence had information showing that a Chinese subsidiary of the German firm Voetsch Industrietechnik sold a VC3 7018 test chamber to Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO), an entity sanctioned under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1737.
That sale was carried out by “Chinese national and known proliferator QC Chen,” who had been “working to arrange training on the test chamber for DIO representatives - likely on the premises of Voetsch China.”
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About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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