November 22, 2002

Date Decided on Sino-US Non-Proliferation Talks

A team of US experts will travel to Beijing this month for talks on halting the spread of missile technology, the State Department said Monday, a week after reports here accused a Chinese firm of supplying missile parts to Pakistan.

The talks, agreed to when Secretary of State Colin Powell was in the Chinese capital late last month, will take place on August 23, and if necessary conclude the following day, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said.

The US inter-agency team will be led by the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non Proliferation Vann Van Diepen.

US suspicions over alleged Chinese missile exports represent one of the most intractable issues in the tense Sino-US relationship.

Last week, the Washington Times quoted US intelligence officials as saying that a Chinese state firm had shipped 12 batches of missile components to Pakistan, in an apparent contravention of a Sino-US non-proliferation deal reached in November 2000.

China and the company concerned, the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation, denied the reports.

US officials refused to comment on that issue and earlier reports in the Washington Post that Washington had made a formal protest of Chinese sales to Pakistan.

Powell said he had "moved the ball forward" in talks with top Chinese leaders on the issue in Beijing two weeks ago but that differences remained.

Pakistan's shipments, if confirmed, would appear to violate the accord under which China committed not to export ballistic missile components restricted by a global anti-missile pact.

In return, the former US administration said it would process applications from US firms that wanted to launch satellites on Chinese rockets and not impose sanctions on Chinese firms for selling missiles to Pakistan and Iran.

China argues that the United States has also failed to live up to its agreements under the November accord

(Chinadaily.com.cn 08/14/2001)

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