- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2001

BEIJING — President Jiang Zemin told visiting U.S. senators yesterday that China has "kept to the letter" of promises not to export missile technology to Pakistan and other countries, one of the lawmakers said.

Mr. Jiang also said China doesn't want to see North Korea develop a long-range missile capability, said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Biden said missile proliferation was one of many issues raised in a two-hour meeting with the Chinese president.

They also discussed Taiwan, religious freedom, legal reform and China's recent detention of Chinese-born scholars and writers with U.S. ties, he said.

Mr. Biden's four-member delegation also talked with Defense Minister Chi Haotian and other officials in meetings they said totaled four hours at the seaside resort of Beidaihe, where Chinese leaders are holding an annual policy-making gathering.

Accompanying Mr. Biden were fellow Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat; Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican; and Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican. They stopped in Taiwan earlier in their six-day trip and plan to visit South Korea.

Mr. Biden said they asked Mr. Jiang about new allegations — first reported in Monday's editions of The Washington Times — that Beijing has sold missile technology to Pakistan in violation of a past Sino-U.S. proliferation agreement.

"He was very formal in saying that China has kept to the letter of all its agreements, and we agreed to disagree," Mr. Biden said. "He made the point that he didn't want to see an arms race."

Mr. Jiang "specifically indicated he did not want to see North Korea obtain a long-range missile capability," Mr. Biden said.

A Chinese company identified by The Times as the seller of missile components to Pakistan denied the allegation yesterday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corp. insisted it was involved in legitimate engineering projects, Xinhua said.

The senators described their talks with Mr. Jiang as amicable and candid, though Mr. Biden said other officials were "mildly recalcitrant, in terms of their attitude everything in China was perfect and basically everything in America was imperfect."

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