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China Denies Violating UN Sanctions on Iraq - 2002-11-26


China's Foreign Ministry says Beijing never violated United Nations resolutions by allowing a Ukrainian-built radar system to end up in Iraq. The comments follow allegations that Ukraine sent the sophisticated hardware to Iraq through an intermediary.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan says "there is no question" of China transferring radar systems to Iraq. Mr. Kong says China strictly implements U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iraq, including the ban on sales of military hardware to Baghdad.

China is one of five permanent members of the Security Council and can veto actions by the body.

On Monday, U.S. and British investigators said there was a "credible" possibility that Ukraine sent radar systems to Iraq via a third party. Under diplomatic pressure from Washington and London, Ukraine allowed U.S. and British investigators to track down 72 of the 76 radar systems thought to exist. The Ukraine government says the other four were sold to China. But Ukraine refused to allow the investigators to examine documents concerning that sale. Investigators also questioned whether Ukraine revealed all the systems it has built.

Ukraine has denied the allegations about the radar systems. Still, the charges that Ukraine sold sophisticated military hardware to Iraq have soured relations with the United States and Europe. Washington has frozen $54 million in aid to Ukraine and is threatening more cuts if the allegations prove true.

The allegations come as U.S. and other forces prepare for a possible war with Iraq because of fears Baghdad has weapons of mass destruction, violating United Nations resolutions. Air power will be crucial to fighting in Iraq and improved Iraqi radar capabilities would threaten the lives of American pilots and the forces they support.

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