- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001

The Bush administration yesterday slapped sanctions on a major Chinese arms producer for selling missile technology to Pakistan in violation of an agreement China has with the United States.
The action comes just seven weeks before President Bush is scheduled to make his first official visit to Beijing.
The State Department said sanctions were imposed on China Metallurgical Equipment Corp. (CMEC), a quasi-governmental firm, and on the National Development Complex of Pakistan, the recipient of the technology transfer.
"The sanctions were imposed on these entities for their involvement in the transfer of missile technology … that contributed to Pakistan's … missile programs," the State Department said.
The Washington Times, which first disclosed CMEC's weapons sales to Pakistan nearly a month ago, reported then that the Chinese arms dealer supplied the missile components for Pakistan's Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 missile programs.
The department's statement identified "Class 2 items" as the type of missile technology CMEC sold to the Pakistani firm. Class 2 technology includes flight-control systems for missiles and rocket components.
The penalties will bar American companies from issuing licenses to launch satellites on Chinese rockets. In most cases, the sanctions will make it illegal for U.S. firms to provide technology to China's satellite industry.
The administration's imposition of sanctions against the Chinese firm reportedly also comes when Washington has decided not to object to China's plans to build up its fleet of nuclear missiles capable of striking the United States.
The New York Times reported that change in policy today and said it was intended to overcome Chinese objections to the missile defense system President Bush proposes. The newspaper said China has fewer than two dozen missiles able to reach the United States.
The Washington Times revealed that CMEC has sent a dozen shipments of missile components to Pakistan for use in the production of Shaheen-1, a missile with an estimated range of 465 miles, and for development of Shaheen-2, which U.S. intelligence agencies believe will have a range of up to 1,240 miles.
Both missiles are strategic missile systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads. By selling such equipment, CMEC broke an agreement China made with the United States last November, when it promised not to support foreign missile programs that can be used to deliver nuclear warheads.
The Chinese government made that pledge in return for a decision by the Clinton administration not to levy sanctions on China for selling missile technology and components to Iran and Pakistan. That episode marked the third time since 1992 that the U.S. government had either waived or lifted sanctions based on promises that Beijing would curtail missile-related exports.
Since Mr. Bush took office, the Chinese government — and, more recently, CMEC — have denied sending missile components or other military equipment to Pakistan. The Pakistani government has denied receiving such technology, but U.S. intelligence has shown otherwise.
Intelligence officials told The Times in early August that a U.S. spy satellite detected the latest such shipment as it arrived by truck at the mountainous Chinese-Pakistani border on May 1. "The problem is serious," a senior administration official said at the time of the continued Chinese arms shipments.
In a visit to Beijing in July, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned that the administration might impose sanctions unless China adhered to the pact it agreed to in November.
The news that the United States would impose sanctions — first reported by the Los Angeles Times — came a week after Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Vann Van Diepen failed to persuade the Chinese government to take action to stop such technology transfers. Beijing was warned that sanctions were imminent if it did not act to restrict the sale of missile technology.
The United States rejects China's claim that its arms sales to Pakistan are comparable to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
The administration's imposition of punitive measures against the Chinese firm comes as Mr. Bush prepares to visit China in October to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Shanghai. The president is also expected to visit Beijing.
State Department officials have hoped that Mr. Bush's visit will help ease U.S.-Sino tensions after the April collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet. But the administration decided it no longer could ignore China's disregard of its November pledge.
The White House also was under bipartisan pressure to impose sanctions from top U.S. lawmakers, such as Sens. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican; Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican; and Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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