China arms breach brings US sanctions: Action over the sale of missile parts threatens fast-growing export trade
The move follows weeks of investigation by US intelligence experts into whether the Chinese delivered components to Pakistan for M-11 missiles, a weapon with a 300-mile range that can be equipped with nuclear warheads. Yesterday it became clear they had concluded that the deal had gone through.
Under US law, sanctions have to be applied in cases of violations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) - international guidelines intended to limit the spread of missile-related technology. This bars the transfer of equipment relating to missiles with a range over 186 miles, or a payload of more than 1,100lb.
Last month, Lynn Davis, the US under-secretary of state for international security affairs, visited Peking to ask the Chinese to adhere to the non-proliferation rules. The Americans say China denied the illicit sales. Washington now believes China was lying.
The sanctions were announced by the US State Department, which described them as a two-year ban on the export of sensitive US technology to China - a move officials claimed would cost American companies between dollars 400m-dollars 500m (pounds 266m-pounds 333m). A spokesman said the US repeatedly complained to the Chinese about the M-11 deal with Pakistan, but did not receive a 'satisfactory response'.
The US move is likely to cause alarm in some US business circles. China is the world's fastest- growing economy, and American companies are certain to worry that the Chinese may retaliate by blocking US firms from entering a potentially vast consumer market.
This issue may help explain why President Bill Clinton has been slow to follow through on campaign promises to take a hard line against Chinese human rights violations. In May, he granted a one-year extension to China's 'most-favoured nation' status.
The issue comes at a time when relations between the two nations have been under growing strain on a number of fronts.
On Monday, Washington criticised the Chinese for revoking the passport of a Chinese labour activist who met President Clinton earlier this year.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
Justin Bieber's unfinished monkey business
World news in pictures
David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...