- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2001

A state-run Chinese company has sent a dozen shipments of missile components to Pakistan in violation of Beijing's recent pledge not to support nuclear missile programs, The Washington Times has learned.
The China National Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Corp., known as CMEC, supplied the missile components for Pakistan's Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 missile programs, according to intelligence officials familiar with reports on the transfers.
A U.S. spy satellite detected the latest shipment as it arrived by truck at the mountainous Chinese-Pakistani border May 1.
It was one of 12 missile component transfers sent by ship and truck detected by U.S. intelligence agencies since the beginning of the year.
The missile components are being used for production of the Shaheen-1, which has an estimated range of 465 miles, and development of the Shaheen-2, which U.S. intelligence agencies think will have a range of up to 1,240 miles.
Both missiles are strategic missile systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads, U.S. officials said.
The Chinese shipments violate the Beijing government's pledge in November not to assist foreign missile programs that can be used to deliver nuclear warheads.
China also promised to publish a comprehensive list of export controls.
"The problem is serious," a senior administration official said of the continued Chinese arms shipments.
The arms transfers could lead to the imposition of economic sanctions required under U.S. proliferation laws.
"We're looking at that now," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
During his recent visit to Beijing, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell raised the issue in several meetings, the official said.
The official said the U.S. government has sent several formal protest notes to Beijing seeking an explanation and calling for a complete halt to the weapons transfers. Also, China was asked to meet several specific conditions before Mr. Powell went to Beijing.
"They have not met the conditions," the official said.
China also has failed to draw up an export-control regime that could prevent state-run companies such as CMEC from selling missile parts.
China, for its part, is demanding that the Bush administration relax export controls on U.S. satellites being launched on Chinese rockets, in exchange for curbing its arms transfers, the official said.
The two sides are expected to meet on the issue. The senior U.S. official said Beijing likely will try to explain away its arms sales.
"On that score, we're not even close to agreement," the official said.
As a result of Beijing's November pledge, the Clinton administration announced it would not impose sanctions on China for its sales of missile technology and components to Pakistan and Iran.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi stated in Beijing on Nov. 21 that "China has no intention to assist in any way any country in the development of ballistic missile that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons."
U.S. officials said the CMEC missile components sent to Pakistan violate that pledge. "The Chinese have not abided by that agreement," one official said.
A second administration official said the Chinese rejected U.S. appeals to restart a dialogue on weapons proliferation.
Asked if China's arms sales could trigger sanctions under U.S. weapons proliferation laws, the official said: "I can't speculate. None have come to my attention at this point."
Several U.S. laws require the imposition of economic sanctions for transfers of missiles or related equipment covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime.
"Some of this involves specific cases," the senior official said. "Most of it does not. Most of it actually has to do with getting into a process where specific cases could be raised."
Mr. Powell "didn't sit there [in Beijing] and detail the cases that we're concerned about with the Chinese," this official said. "But they have been refusing to have conversations or discussions, a dialogue on export control and on proliferation."
The official said, "We are not there yet with the Chinese on what we really need to do on even getting a process in place.
"And that's something we're going to be pressing pretty hard on between now and the president's visit to Shanghai," the official said.
President Bush is scheduled to make his first visit to China as president in October, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Shanghai. He also will travel to Beijing.
The intelligence on China's missile-related transfers to Pakistan supports charges made last month by Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Mr. Helms produced a report outlining what he said were two decades of "broken promises" by Beijing not to sell nuclear, chemical and biological weapons items and missiles to unstable regions or rogue states.
A congressional arms specialist said of China's proliferation record: "We're concerned that China has continued to transfer missile equipment and technology in contravention of both the [Missile Technology Control Regime] and the November pledge, and several U.S. nonproliferation statutes that require that sanctions must be imposed."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is heading a congressional delegation to China this week, said Beijing needs to provide "iron-clad" commitment to halt its weapons sales or risk damaging its ties to the United States.
"The idea that entering into the World Trade Organization and continued economic expansion between the United States and China can continue in the face of a policy different than curtailing and eliminating proliferation is naive and will not happen," Mr. Biden, Delaware Democrat, told Reuters news agency.
"My message to China will be that, absent an iron-clad notion that proliferation is not a problem, every other aspect of this relationship is damaged — every other aspect," he said.

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