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China Demands Repeal of US Sanctions Against Weapon Producer - 2001-09-06

China is lashing out at the United States for imposing sanctions on a Chinese weapons producer. The Bush Administration says the targeted Chinese company sold missile technology to Pakistan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao says the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on a Chinese company for exporting arms is "groundless and irresponsible." The United States Saturday said the China Metallurgical Equipment Corporation had sold missile parts and technology to Pakistan, in violation of a Sino-American agreement that China would halt all missile exports.

Mr. Zhu told a news conference Thursday China could not accept what he called "the hegemonic act of the United States." He demanded the sanctions be immediately repealed. He says, after in-depth investigations, China concluded the metallurgical equipment company never engaged in improper activities and that the U.S. allegation was erroneous.

Last November, Beijing promised Washington it would not help other countries develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and pledged to improve its system of controlling missile-related exports. In exchange, Washington agreed to waive sanctions against China for past missile transfers to Iran and Pakistan and said it would resume processing licenses for U.S. satellite launches in China.

But Saturday's decision by the Bush Administration to sanction a Chinese arms producer also means U.S. companies will not be permitted to launch satellites on Chinese rockets. Mr. Zhu says China has strictly upheld its promise under the agreement, but that the United States failed to honor its own commitment. He urged Washington to lift its sanctions or risk undermining Sino-American efforts to reduce weapons proliferation.