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China Steps Up Non-Proliferation Efforts - 2002-10-21

China is stepping up efforts to curb weapons proliferation by issuing new controls on military exports. The move comes just days before a Sino-American summit at which weapons proliferation is likely to be high on the agenda.

Beijing says its new regulations will tighten export controls on military goods, as well as products that can be used to make chemical and biological weapons.

Under the new regulations, published by China's official Xinhua News Agency, major military export contracts must first be approved by China's cabinet and Central Military Commission. There will also be tougher control on sales of so-called dual use chemicals and other technology that can be adapted to make weapons of mass destruction. The regulations will go into effect November 15.

In August, China issued limits on missile-related exports. Washington has long prodded Beijing to tighten controls on transfer of technology that could lead to arms proliferation.

The Chinese official in charge of North American relations, He Yafei, said China, through its actions, is showing its commitment to a policy of non-proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. "Our position on non-proliferation has been consistent and clear-cut, which is, we are against any proliferation of WMD, and the vehicles that can carry WMD," he said. "This issue of non-proliferation has been in existence between our two countries, the U.S. and China, for some time. And I tend to believe that both China and the United States have many things in common in this area."

The United States has imposed sanctions on Chinese companies it says have exported dual-use technologies or goods. Beijing hopes to have those sanctions lifted and will likely be an issue when Chinese President Jiang Zemin meets President George Bush at his Texas ranch later this week.