- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001

Senior Chinese leaders refused to talk in detail about Beijing's missile and weapons sales during a meeting with U.S. senators last week, a senior U.S. senator said.
Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Zhu Rongji were "stonewalling" on discussions about Chinese arms and weapons-related exports to Pakistan, Iran and North Korea in violation of a pledge made last year to curb such sales.
"Their denials were flat-out wrong," Mr. Specter said in an interview following meetings he attended last week in Beijing with three other senators, led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat. "They were stonewalling."
Also present were Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, and Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican.
Mr. Biden and Mr. Thompson went on a national television news show last night to demand sanctions against the Chinese companies over the weapons transfers.
"I think what we should do identify those entities within the Chinese government that have transferred whatever technology meets the requirement of breaching the deal that they have made with us and sanction those companies from being able to do business," Mr. Biden said in a joint appearance with Mr. Thompson on PBS' "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."
Mr. Thompson added that Washington has hesitated too often to impose sanctions on Beijing.
"I think that we're going to have to take some action there because clearly do not believe they have to do anything differently. Just recently they were caught shipping additional missile components to Pakistan," he said.
The Tennessee Republican also expressed dissatisfaction with the explanations China's Communist leaders had given the Senate delegation.
"Sometimes they just gave a flat denial," Mr. Thompson said. On other occasions, they suggested "rogue companies" acted without Beijing's knowledge.
And at other times, Chinese leaders said "as long as [the United States has] a missile defense program and assist Taiwan, we're essentially going to continue doing what we want to do," Mr. Thompson said.
Mr. Specter said U.S. intelligence reports indicate that China is not abiding by a pledge made in November to halt exports of missiles and related equipment that can be used for nuclear-tipped missiles.
"We told them rather bluntly the evidence was powerful that came from our intelligence sources," Mr. Specter said.
U.S. intelligence officials disclosed to The Washington Times last week that China was supplying missile-related technology and components in Pakistan for Islamabad's Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 strategic missile programs.
The officials said a U.S. spy satellite detected the latest shipment from a Chinese company, the China National Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Corp., on May 1 as it crossed the border into Pakistan.
The Chinese company, known as CMEC, has denied sending any missile or military goods to Pakistan and said in a statement it has not used trucks to transport its equipment to Pakistan.
A senior Bush administration official, however, has said China's missile exports to Pakistan, in particular, are "serious" and could trigger U.S. economic sanctions required under laws aimed at halting the spread of missiles.
Mr. Specter said China's sales to Pakistan were the "big issue," but that China also was continuing to sell military goods and technology to Iran and North Korea.
The State Department announced on Monday that it would send a delegation to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on the arms sales and the failure of Beijing to abide by its November pledge.
Mr. Specter said the congressional delegation that met with Mr. Jiang and Mr. Zhu did not get into specific cases of Chinese arms sales.
Mr. Biden last week said that Mr. Jiang gave the senators a curt assurance that China had "kept to the letter" on promises not to export missile technology to Pakistan and other countries.
Mr. Specter said he believes Chinese officials will be more forthcoming during the meeting of arms officials. "I think they will [be more open] when they get down to specifics and we present concrete evidence," he said of the U.S.-China weapons proliferation talks.
Chinese leaders complained to the senators about U.S. support for Taiwan and claimed the United States was "meddling" in China's internal affairs.
The Chinese also contend that their buildup of short-range missiles opposite Taiwan is needed to pressure the island Beijing views as a breakaway province, Mr. Specter said.
Mr. Specter said his overall impression of the visit was that Chinese leaders sought to present a "friendly posture" toward the United States and wanted good relations with Washington.

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