China Objects to U.S. Sanctions over Arms sales.(NATION)

Article excerpt

Byline: Gus Constantine, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

China spoke out yesterday against U.S. sanctions imposed last week on eight Chinese companies and one individual suspected of transferring sensitive technology to the Middle East.

"We strongly object to sanctions imposed on China based on U.S. domestic law," said Xie Feng, press counselor at the Chinese Embassy, during his first U.S. news conference.

"China has always supported the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Xie said. "In fact, we have been looking toward the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of all weapons of mass destruction."

The Washington Times reported Friday that new sanctions on the Chinese involved three cases of sales of advanced conventional arms, and chemical and biological components to Iran between September 2000 and October 2001.

It was the fourth time since September that the United States has penalized Chinese companies for transferring arms-related material or technology to Iran.

The sanctions bar the unidentified companies from doing business with the U.S. government or American companies.

Objections to the sanctions were also raised in Beijing.

"We have a series of laws and regulations in place, and strictly enforce the rules on exporting such items," said a Foreign Ministry statement faxed to news agencies. "The Chinese side objects to the United States' unjustifiable sanctions."

While generally praising recent progress in U.S.-China relations, Mr. Xie dismissed reports that a rapid increase in Beijing's defense spending was creating a "China threat," as stated in two recent American reports. …