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China Pledges to Halt Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction - 2003-12-03


China is pledging to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, while at the same time saying it opposes unilateral efforts to limit weapons proliferation.

In a 28-page position paper released Wednesday, China detailed its strategy to stop the distribution of weapons to rogue nations.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui introduced the document at a diplomatic reception Wednesday.

Mr. Zhang says that as a responsible member of the world community, China attaches great importance to the nonproliferation issue.

In the paper, China appeared to take aim at the United States and the approach that Washington took this year in making sure that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. It said that "unilateralism and double standards" should be abandoned.

Beijing was among the most vocal opponents of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The attack followed allegations by the Bush administration that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.

The United States welcomed the document Wednesday. A statement by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said Washington will continue to work with China on nonproliferation issues.

The position paper details ways that China makes sure its companies and government agencies do not export weapons technology. The paper also says that Beijing does not encourage or help any nations attempting to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

Analysts say the paper, which was released as Prime Minister Wen Jiabao prepares to visit the United States next week, also is China's answer to past complaints by other nations, including the United States. Washington and others have accused Beijing of exporting weapons and technology to countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan.

China has angrily denied the accusations.

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