China-Pakistan arms deal provokes U.S. sanctions

August 26, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

WASHINGTON -- The United States imposed new economic sanctions on China and Pakistan yesterday in retaliation for the Chinese export of technology and parts for a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The move could cost U.S. companies as much as $1 billion in lost business.

The action came after a U.S. investigation turned up evidence that China and Pakistan traded components for the M-11 intermediate range missile in 1992. Both countries have denied the exchange, but President Clinton found the evidence conclusive.

Satellite photos helped determine that a Chinese shipment arrived last year at the Pakistani port of Karachi, U.S. officials said.

Once it was determined that China and Pakistan had violated an international agreement prohibiting the sale or exchange of missile technology, the Clinton administration was legally required under the Missile Technology Control Regime to impose sanctions, even if U.S. businesses suffered the greatest loss.

China has not signed the control technology control agreement but has agreed to abide by it.

It is estimated that U.S. companies selling satellite technology and U.S.-manufactured parts for satellites to the Chinese will lose $400 million to $500 million a year in each of the two years of the sanctions.

But $500 million represents only one-tenth of the total annual U.S. exports to China.

In China, the U.S. sanctions primarily will affect the Ministry of Aerospace Industry and the Ministry of Defense and their subsidiaries. Chinese exports to the United States are not affected.

Even though Pakistan may have gotten parts of an M-11, which has a range of just under 200 miles, U.S. investigators could not confirm that the Pakistanis have a workable missile system.

Even if they did, it is doubtful that Pakistan has the technology to equip it with a nuclear payload at this time, said John Wolfstahl, a senior research analyst with the Arms Control Association in Washington.

The economic sanctions will have little effect on U.S. trade with Pakistan, which has already lost most U.S. assistance because of its pursuit of a nuclear weapons program.

In Pakistan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Munir Akram said Pakistan purchased short-range missiles from China, but not the M-11s. He made no mention about technology transfer.

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