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China Rejects CIA 'Threat' Label - 2002-02-10


China's government is reacting angrily to comments by the head of the U.S. CIA that Beijing is a threat to America.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan calls the American comments "unreasonable, irresponsible and unacceptable." He says Washington "should do more to benefit Sino-U.S. relations."

The comments that angered China came from George Tenet, head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in testimony to the Congress last week. He said Beijing views the United States as the biggest obstacle to China's goal of becoming a major world power.

Mr. Tenet also said Chinese companies remain "key suppliers" of missile-related technologies to Pakistan, Iran and several other countries. Mr. Tenet said this broke a November 2000 agreement not to spread advanced weapons technology to other nations.

In comments to the official Xinhua news agency, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong says improving bilateral relations would be good for both nations - but such improvements require efforts from both sides.

In the past year, Chinese-American relations hit a low point after a midair collision killed a Chinese military pilot and forced a U.S. Navy aircrew to make an emergency landing in southern China. The American crew was detained for more than a week, sparking a diplomatic squabble.

Lately, relations have been on an upswing as China offered political and intelligence support to the U.S. war on terrorism and downplayed problems in Sino-American relations. President Bush is headed for Beijing in just over a week for his second meeting with China's President Jiang Zemin in a year.

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