U.S. sanctions put ties in 'jeopardy,' China says Beijing reconsiders arms pact pledge

August 28, 1993|By Robert Benjamin | Robert Benjamin,Beijing Bureau

BEIJING -- In its strongest reaction yet to new U.S. economic sanctions, China yesterday accused the U.S. of a "naked hegemonic act" that puts Sino-U.S. relations "in serious jeopardy."

China also said it is reconsidering its 1991 promise to abide by an international missile-control pact.

The U.S. belief that China already has ignored that promise by selling M-11 missile parts to Pakistan led Wednesday to the decision to impose limited trade sanctions for two years on China.

The Chinese reaction, outlined in a state news agency report, came yesterday as Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Huaqiu lodged a "strong protest" over the sanctions with J. Stapleton Roy, the U.S. ambassador to China.

Diplomats here played down the strength of the Chinese reaction, noting that China launched similar verbal broadsides after the announcement of the sale of fighter jets to Taiwan but has yet to take retaliatory action.

According to the Chinese news agency, Mr. Liu told the U.S. ambassador that the American action violated international norms and compromised "China's sovereignty, dignity and interests."

He reiterated China's denials that it has violated the guidelines of the missile-control pact and called the U.S. allegations "self-invented" stories. This disclaimer hinges on a Chinese claim that the range of the M-11 missile is too short to be covered by the pact. The United States disagrees.

Mr. Liu also accused the United States of threatening China's security by "pouring large amounts of advanced weapons into [a] region sensitive to China," an apparent reference to the U.S. decision last year to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

The main cost of the sanctions will fall on the U.S. side, as they bar as much as $500 million a year in U.S. high-tech exports to China. Primarily affected will be U.S. satellite manufacturers as well as a Chinese state corporation that launches satellites for overseas clients.

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