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China Implements WMD Export Controls - 2003-12-20

China says it is implementing new export restrictions on nuclear, biological and missile technologies. The measures are meant to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The Chinese government announced the new regulations through the state-run news agency, Xinhua, which provided few details.

The Xinhua report says the regulations were issued Friday by China's Ministry of Commerce. The rules will require Chinese companies to obtain special permits, if they want to export about 600 types of products and technology that could be used to make or deliver weapons of mass destruction.

The restrictions will take effect on January 1.

Analysts said Beijing's announcement was meant to ease the concerns of the United States, which has criticized China in the past for providing missile technology to nations that include Iran and Pakistan. Washington has imposed sanctions on some Chinese weapons contractors as a result.

U.S. officials have repeatedly called on China to enact measures to restrict the export of missile, nuclear, and biological technology.

It is not clear whether the new restrictions fully meet Washington's demands. U.S. officials would not immediately comment on the announcement.

China is not a member of the Missile Control Technology Regime, a multi-national effort aimed at stopping the spread of long-range missile proliferation. Beijing, however, has pledged to abide by the restrictions set by the group.

The regulations were issued the same day the British and American governments announced that Libya had agreed to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction in its possession.