Report: US Protested China’s Exports of Missiles to Middle East
The Bush administration has discussed what officials assert are renewed Chinese missile exports to the Middle East, according to the Middle East Newsline (MENL).
The discussions, which reportedly took place over the weekend, came amid a formal US protest that Beijing was violating its pledge to end missile exports and technology. The issue was raised during the visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
US officials claim that Iran and Libya have obtained some missile components since China's announcement last November that it was ending such exports. The officials said China claimed that the components were ordered before the November announcement, according to MENL.
"Since November, we have been following closely and discussing the [proliferation] issue with them, and the results are mixed," Powell said. "There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved and some places where we don't have full agreement."
On Saturday, Powell said Beijing had agreed to examine the US allegations regarding Chinese missile exports. The secretary said Beijing and Washington would bring together experts to discuss the issue.
In return, Powell agreed to review Chinese applications for satellite technology and components from the United States. The Chinese ban on missile exports was to have prompted US satellite deals with Beijing.
Some members of Congress are pressing the administration to impose new sanctions on Beijing and Chinese companies, said the news service.
In a previous report, MENL quoted Egyptian officials as saying that Egypt had launched projects in the field of nuclear research and remote-sensing satellites with China.
They said the projects focused on research and technology rather than the development of systems, and that China had agreed to increase such cooperation with Egypt.
Relations between China and Egypt included those "in the field of scientific and technological cooperation, through the exchange of visits by researchers from both sides and through new joint programs for scientific cooperation in various fields including remote sensing, space technology," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was quoted as saying in an interview with the Chinese Xinhua news agency.
Mubarak said Egypt wanted to expand its industrial technological base through cooperation with China.
He said he would discuss these and other issues during a visit to Beijing by the end of the year.
Within the same context, Israel has begun discussions with China in an effort to resolve the dispute stemming from the cancellation of the Phalcon spy plane deal last year, reported Haaretz newspaper last week.
But an Israeli diplomatic source said that the two sides were currently no closer to an agreement.
One of the main sticking points is the fact that China has already paid Israel tens of millions of dollars for the planes.
The deal, which included the installation of a Phalcon early warning radar on a Russian-built aircraft by Israel Aircraft Industries, was scrapped last year following intense pressure from Washington.
The Americans emphasized their strategic concerns regarding the transfer of sensitive defense technology to Beijing, and stressed the threat posed to Taiwan's security by putting the Phalcon system into Chinese hands.
Then prime minister Ehud Barak accordingly informed Chinese President Jiang Zemin of the decision to "freeze" the deal, but at the time, both the Israeli Defense Ministry and Israel Aircraft Industries still hoped that a solution could be found to the problem, the paper added.
However, the Israeli government has since apparently given up hope, the paper noted.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent an official message to the Chinese leadership informing them that the agreement was being canceled.
The US also criticizes Beijing for extending expertise to Baghdad in the form of work on fibre-optic communications linked to air defense systems. Both Iraq and China have rejected the allegations - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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