China Denies Helping Pakistan Develop Long-Range Missiles
China Tuesday denied it has helped Pakistan develop long-range missiles, saying reports that it is assisting a Pakistani missile program are unfounded and based on ulterior motives.
"Allegations that China exported missile technology to Pakistan are unfounded and based on ulterior motives," foreign ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said at the ministry's regular briefing.
"We aren't helping any South Asian countries develop nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons," he said.
US newspapers reported on Sunday that US intelligence agencies believe China is helping Pakistan develop long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
In recent classified briefings at US Congress, lawmakers were presented with evidence that China has continued to ship guidance and other systems to Pakistan, also offering technical expertise, the reports said.
Fears that a new arms race could worsen the already brittle relations between arch rivals India and Pakistan were sparked when the two sides carried out tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998.
The Chinese denial follows a statement by Pakistani foreign minister Abdul Sattar Monday that Pakistan and China are no longer cooperating on missile development. Sattar said any reports to the contrary are "outdated."
"This news report ... is not new in its substance," Sattar told a press conference in Islamabad.
"Pakistan's progress is now by the grace of God sufficiently advanced so that we can continue the process of research ourselves." - BEIJING (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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