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Paper 294                                      13.08.2001


by B.Raman

Executive Summary :

China considers that it is in its national security interest to help Pakistan maintain a nuclear weapon and missile delivery capability against India.  For nearly two decades now, it has, therefore, been clandestinely providing to Pakistan nuclear and missile material, expertise and technology in violation of international control regimes, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).  It is not a member of the MTCR, but has repeatedly pledged that it adheres to its provisions.  Whenever its clandestine supplies to Pakistan are detected by US intelligence agencies, it first denies any such shipments, then claims that any shipments were not in violation of control regimes, then blames non-Government entities (as if there are non-Government entities in such sensitive fields in China) for making the shipments without the Government's knowledge, proposes experts' level talks with the US to remove misunderstandings, makes another pledge to observe the control regimes and violates it once again.  This has been going on and on.  It has been estimated that since the 1980s, China has made 15 such pledges and subsequently violated each and every one of them.  The same has been the fate of the pledge made by it to the US on November 21,2000, as the following chronology shows.

Under the economic sanctions imposed against China by the Bush Sr Administration after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, export of commercial communications satellites to China for being launched by Chinese rockets is banned.  However, the Congress has vested the President with powers to issue waivers if considered necessary in national interest.

Former President Bush Sr issued nine such waivers in three years.  This was one of the reasons why Mr.Clinton, during the presidential campaign of 1992, accused Mr.Bush of mollycoddling Beijing.  Mr.Clinton's attitude changed after coming to office and he himself issued 11 waivers in five years.

Both the Administrations justified the liberal issue of waivers as meant to be incentives to Beijing to exercise voluntary restraint on the export of missiles and related technology to other countries and to ultimately adhere fully to the MTCR.

The aerospace and telecommunications lobbies justified their demand for the easing of restrictions on the launching of their satellites on Chinese rockets by pointing out that it cost only 50 per cent of what it would cost if they were to get them launched on West European or Russian rockets.

Some advocates of a more liberal regime also underlined the opportunities such launchings provided to the scientific experts of the US intelligence community to visit Chinese space establishments and launching sites under the cover of the executives of the US companies, interact with Chinese scientists and identify points of strength and weaknesses of Chinese rockets and the direction of their R & D thrust.

In 1997, allegations were made in the US media that the Democratic Party and Mr. Clinton himself had been in receipt of hefty campaign contributions not only from US aerospace companies, but also from a PLA-owned aerospace conglomerate of China, which had been the beneficiaries of the liberal issue of waivers by Mr. Clinton.

Between 1994 and 1996, the Long March rockets of China went through a bad patch with a failure rate of 25 per cent.  Amongst the US companies affected by these failures were the Hughes Space & Communications in 1995 and the Loral Space & Communications in 1996.

Hughes' experts, who investigated the 1995 failure, reportedly identified the causes as inaccurate mathematical formulae used by the Chinese for assessing the impact of atmospheric conditions on the launching, structural weaknesses in the rivets used to attach the satellites to the rockets and the shape of the nose-cone which caused instability during the launchings.  Without the knowledge of the Clinton Administration, the company allegedly shared these findings with the Chinese authorities.

Similarly, the Loral Company allegedly shared with the Chinese, without the permission of the administration, an enquiry report submitted by a team, which had investigated the failure of the 1996 launch.

The repeated failures between 1994 and 1996 of the Long March rockets led to a steep increase in the insurance premia for commercial satellites launched on Chinese rockets. What the Hughes and the Loral were gaining as a result of the attractive discount rates for launchings offered by the Chinese was neutralised by the increase in insurance premium rates and the losses due to the delayed commissioning of the satellites.

This made the American companies as anxious as the Chinese to improve the performance of the Long March rockets and it was alleged that the Hughes and the Loral not only shared their findings on the failures with the Chinese, but also gave them advice as to how to remove the defects.  It was contended that, as a result, the performance of the Long March rockets significantly improved .

The Congressional opponents of space co-operation with China saw a nexus between the campaign contributions by the aerospace companies, the liberal issue of waivers and the failure of the Clinton Administration to take punitive action against the Hughes and the Loral for the breach of security rules and claimed that these two companies, by their action, had not only helped China in improving the performance of its Long March rockets, but would have also enabled it to improve the accuracy of its missiles directed at the US.  It was this, which, inter alia, led to the launching of the Cox Committee to enquire into China's clandestine acquisition of technology from the US.

The Cox Committee hearings brought out the greater tolerance of clandestine Chinese acquisition activities by the Clinton Administration and of the repeated breaches of security rules by US business companies with expanding interests in China.  This was in marked contrast to the severe action which the pre-1991 US Administrations used to take against similar clandestine acquisitions by the USSR and against US companies obliging the Soviets in violation of security rules.

This tolerance could be attributed partly to the enormous interests of the US business companies in the expanding Chinese market and partly to ill-advised policy considerations.  The US companies did not have a similar interest in the Soviet market and do not have a similar interest in the Russian market.  The ill-advised policy considerations arose from naïve assumptions, which have been repeatedly belied, that such leniency towards China could bring in political dividends in the form of a more responsible and responsive Chinese regime in matters such as restraints in the export of nuclear weapons and missile technologies to Iran and Pakistan and political liberalisation to accompany the economic liberalisation.

The present Bush Administration came to office with a pledge to take strong action against China if it continued to violate its pledges.  During his visit to Beijing in the last week of July, 2001, Gen (retd).Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, took up with the Chinese leaders the continuing shipments of Chinese missiles and components to Pakistan in violation of the November 21,2000, pledge.  The Chinese once again denied any such violation and proposed another round of experts' talks to go into this.  Instead of imposing sanctions against Beijing at least now, Gen.Powell has agreed to the Chinese proposal.

The present Administration has thus shown that its policy on this subject is no different from that of the previous Administration.  It may bark against China, but will not bite lest its business interests suffer.


The chronology follows:

After experts' level talks between the US and China on US complaints of China's continued export of missiles and missile components to Pakistan, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement at Beijing on November 21,2000:

"China is opposed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  As a State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention, China fulfils its obligations under the above international legal instruments in letter and spirit.  China has no intention to assist, in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons (i.e., missiles capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a distance of at least 300 kilometers).

"China will, based on its own missile non-proliferation policy and export control practices, further improve and reinforce its export control system, including by publishing a comprehensive export control list of missile-related items including dual use items.

"Logically speaking, this control list will include equipment, material and technology that can be directly used in missiles, as well as missile-related dual use items.  In establishing its control list, China will take into account the relevant practices of other countries in terms of scope and detail with a view to strengthening the effectiveness of its control system.

"As part and parcel of its efforts in enforcing missile-related export controls in accordance with this control list, the Chinese Government will naturally require all Chinese entities and individuals to obtain a government license for the export of items on this list.  In making export licensing determination for items on the list, the Chinese Government will take into consideration the proposed end-use and end-user for the item and the risk that the item will be diverted to programs for the development of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

"In the case of transfers to countries that are developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, China will exercise special scrutiny and caution, even for items not specifically contained on the control list, so as to prevent significant contributions to those countries’ development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

"The Chinese Government will work to publish the above missile-related export control list and related regulations at an early date.  Pending that, China will continue to enforce its existing measures so as to ensure that the policy of not assisting, in any way, countries in the development of missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons will be implemented.

"China stands ready to continue to cooperate and hold consultations with the US and other countries on the issue of non-proliferation with a view to strengthening their respective export control systems for missile related equipment and technology."

Simultaneously the same day, at Washington, Mr.Richard Boucher, the spokesman of the US State Department, held a briefing  on the Chinese commitment.  He made the following salient points:

"We welcome the People's Republic of China Foreign Ministry spokesperson's statement of November 21 regarding China's clear policy commitment not to assist in any way other countries to develop ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons and to further improve and reinforce its export control system, including by publishing at an early date a comprehensive export control list of missile-related items, including dual-use items.

"This development can strengthen cooperation between the United States and China to achieve our common objective of preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that threaten regional and international security.  In consideration of China's commitment to strengthen its missile-related export control system, we have decided to waive economic sanctions required by US law for past assistance by Chinese entities to missile programs in Pakistan and Iran.

"Given the relationship between missile nonproliferation and peaceful space cooperation, the United States will now resume the processing of licenses that are necessary for commercial space cooperation between US and Chinese companies, such as launching US satellites in China.  In addition, the United States and China will resume discussions as soon as possible on extending the 1995 US-China agreement regarding international trade and commercial launch services.

"The US stands ready to continue to cooperate and hold consultations with China and other countries on the issues of nonproliferation with a view to strengthening their respective export control systems for missile-related equipment and technology. 

"This has been a subject of ongoing discussion with the Chinese for quite some time, many years in fact.  I know there have been reports about China's missile-related activities in the past.  What we have done here is to work out an arrangement that commits China not to assist other countries in the development of Missile Technology Control Regime Class ballistic missiles in any way, and to put in place comprehensive missile-related export controls.  In exchange, the US side has decided to waive sanctions under US law for past Chinese assistance to missile programs in Pakistan and Iran, and to resume certain commercial space interactions with China.  Sanctions have been imposed upon Pakistani and Iranian recipients of the Chinese assistance.  

"The effective implementation of China's new commitments would be another important step by China to join the international nonproliferation mainstream, and it would promote international security and further US-China cooperation.

"China's statement includes broad new commitments of nonproliferation and security importance, but its value ultimately will depend on whether those commitments are implemented fully and conscientiously.  In that connection, while the United States is waiving sanctions that would otherwise be imposed for past transfers to missile programs in Pakistan and Iran, the waiver does not apply to any transfers that might occur in the future.  We are confident that the next Administration will follow this question closely.  

"These discussions with China have been ongoing for some time.  I think most recently we had a team go to Beijing after the talks with North Korea in Kuala Lumpur about a month ago.  The team went up to Beijing and held some further discussions.  This was certainly a topic of the Secretary's discussions and the President's discussions in Brunei, where they confirmed the understandings and emphasized the importance of full and complete implementation of the understandings that have been reached.

"We do have an ongoing process that reviews very carefully all the available information on potentially sanctionable activity.  The missile sanctions law imposes a number of requirements that must be met with high confidence in order for the legal standard for sanctions determination to be met. Moreover, because we do take seriously our responsibility and because of the serious national security, foreign policy and economic consequences of imposing sanctions, we have always insisted on a high standard of evidence.  These factors contributed to the amount of time necessary to make these sanctions determinations.

"On the activities itself, some Chinese entities and Pakistani entities were involved in transfers of Missile Technology Control Regime Category I items; that is, complete missiles, their major subsystems, or their production facilities, and of Missile Technology Control Regime Category II items, components and materials used to make Category I missiles and subsystems to Pakistani entities that contributed to Missile Technology Control Regime Class Missile Programs in Pakistan. With regard to Iran, some Chinese entities and Iranian entities were involved in transfers of Missile Technology Control Regime Category II items to Iranian entities that contributed to Missile Technology Control Regime Class Missile Programs in Iran. 

"We determined under US law that a number of Chinese entities transferred missile-related equipment and technology to entities in Iran and Pakistan; that those transfers contributed to so-called Category I missile programs in Iran and Pakistan; and that all of the entities knew they were involved in Category I missile activities. Therefore, under our law, sanctions against these Chinese and Iranian and Pakistani entities are required to be either imposed or waived, as permitted by the sanctions law.  In consideration of China's commitment not to assist the development of MTCR-class ballistic missiles in any way and to strengthen its missile-related export controls, we are waiving the sanctions required against the Chinese entities.  

"We are imposing sanctions against the Iranian and Pakistani entities, and those sanctions will be announced in the Federal Register shortly.  The sanctioned entities in Iran are the Defense Industries Organization, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and their sub-units and successors.  The sanctioned entities in Pakistan are the Ministry of Defense and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, and their sub-units and successors. 

"For a two-year period, all new individual export licenses for Commerce- or State-controlled items and all new US Government contracts are denied to the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, and their sub-units and successors.  In addition, for a two-year period, all imports into the US of products produced by the Pakistani Ministry of Defense and its sub-units and successors will be denied.  Finally, for a two-year period, all new individual export licenses for Commerce- or State-controlled MTCR Annex items and all new US Government contracts related to MTCR Annex items are denied to the Iranian entities, the Defense Industry Organization, the Ministry of Defense, and their sub-units and successors.

"Because of the ongoing US embargo against Iran and preexisting US sanctions against Iran and Pakistan, the new sanctions will actually have very limited economic effect, but they do send a strong signal that the United States opposes these countries' missiles programs. 

"There are Chinese entities that have close government connections, including being part of ministries and things like that. What happened was, because the Chinese Government itself committed to impose and publish a set of controls that were of the same sort as the Missile Technology Control Regime and agreed to implement these restrictions for the future, we were able to waive the sanctions that might be applied to Chinese entities generally.

"Membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime is taken by consensus of the members; there are currently 32 countries.  China's new commitments, if they are implemented fully, certainly would constitute major steps towards Chinese membership in the regime in the future.  But, at this point, what is important is getting control of the activities that might be considered proliferating, and for China to do this we think is a major step forward.

"I think you have to ask China what their considerations are with joining or not joining (MTCR).  What is important to us is that China control its missile-related exports, and what we have done here is reached agreement with the Chinese, through many months of very detailed discussion on the items and the controls and the publication of rules and the means of control, to make sure that China will impose a set of controls that are largely equivalent to the Missile Technology Control Regime ones.

"If the rules are applied, there won't be any leakage.  How difficult is it to apply the rules?  We believe that the Chinese Government is capable and indeed is committed to applying these new rules and to implementing thoroughly their decisions not to assist other countries in developing missile technology -- ballistic missiles of this class.  And that is why, I think as I noted, the Secretary's discussions with the Chinese Foreign Minister or the Vice Premier, the President's discussions of this topic with the Chinese President in Brunei, focused on the issue of implementation and the need to thoroughly implement the commitments that China is making here.

"I think I put both Iran and Pakistan in the same sentence there; that because these duplicate other sanctions, the direct economic effect may not be large, but it certainly makes it very clear our position against the development of missiles in these places.

"Both China and the United States said that we would remain ready to continue to cooperate in consultations with each other on these matters, and therefore on the complete and full implementation of these restrictions.  And obviously that is something that we have done all along, and now we will be continuing to do it in terms of the rules that China is putting in place.

"I think I mentioned in the statement that we will resume processing certain licenses and resume some discussions with the Chinese on missile launches.  Let me go back to more detail. If the sanctions had been imposed upon the Chinese entities, one consequence would have been to preclude commercial space interactions, like launches of US satellites on Chinese rockets.  We decided several months ago not to begin negotiations on a new US-China space launch agreement to replace the 1995 agreement that expires next year, and not to conduct normal processing of export licenses for commercial space interactions until the sanctions process has concluded.  

"Now that the sanctions process has been concluded, and due to the fact that China is imposing its own set of controls on exports that contribute to ballistic missile programs, we have been able to make this decision to waive sanctions that otherwise would have been required against Chinese entities; therefore, we have decided to resume discussions on the launch agreement and to resume the normal processing of commercial space licenses involving China.

"Now, that doesn't require US approval for any specific exports to China.  All applications for these export licenses continue to be subject to case-by-case review on the merits of the individual license.  They also remain subject to normal requirements for technology transfer restrictions and other things like that.  But we will simply be lifting the suspension that has been imposed and return to a case-by-case review.

"This has taken place in the past where US-made satellites have been launched on Chinese boosters subject to rigorous technology safeguards that are administered by the Department of Defense.  And so companies can apply to us to have their satellites launched on Chinese rockets, basically. 

"Chinese exports of missile technology is a problem that we've dealt with here.  The relation to satellite launches, yes, there were, I think, several companies that were being looked at for the way they had handled the technology safeguards that are required.  Those issues continue.  Obviously our licensing takes into account any legal issues that are related to the specific companies.  Those aspects are not affected by the new arrangements with China.

"Whether American companies will be allowed to deal with China again for satellite launches would depend on a specific case-by-case review.  I don't have a blanket approval of all licenses or of any specific company's license.  That will depend on the specific applications and how we see the situation.  With regard to the company, it's the legal situation as well as its ability to apply the required technology safeguards.

"Proliferation is a broad area. But certainly on the missile issue we think that this takes care of the need for  China to have a system to control exports that contribute to ballistic missile programs.  They are instituting a comprehensive set of controls.  We think that's important and we welcome that; and, in return, we're waiving sanctions. But as I've stressed, I think several times, the key to this is going to be implementation and making sure that implementation is thorough and that all Chinese entities, be they government-associated or not, adhere to this, and that the system works.  So I'm sure there will be individual instances that we might raise from time to time in order to make sure that these rules are fully implemented.

"The goal here is not to put somebody on the hook or off the hook; the goal here is to end sales of missiles and missile-related components.  If we can stop a program, if we can stop exports of missiles, technology, equipment, parts, whatever, that have been contributing to the development of ballistic missile capabilities around the world, and particularly in places like Iran and Pakistan which are dangerous enough already, it is very important to us to be able to stop those sales and stop that assistance.  

"So that is the goal, and we have succeeded in that goal in working out with China arrangements for China to put in place a very comprehensive set of controls on missile sales and exports.  And that is what really matters, that is what we have been working on for many years, and that is what we have achieved.

"We are prepared to discuss with Pakistan the conditions under which a waiver on the Pakistani entities might be warranted, but there is also no basis for waiving the sanctions against Iranian entities.  

"As far as Indians, in terms of what the Indians think or have to do with this, I think you would need to ask the Indian Government.  We certainly believe that the Indian Government would agree with our determination that Chinese entities have made missile-related transfers to Pakistan.  We believe that India should welcome the comprehensive and explicit assurances that China has given that no such cooperation will take place in the future."

Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence after India's announcement of its decision to invite Gen.Pervez Musharraf to India for talks, Mr.George Tenet, Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said that Pakistan's development of the two-stage Shaheen II medium-range ballistic missiles would require additional assistance from Beijing. "The US is closely monitoring for any sign of Chinese entities providing assistance to Islamabad's venture. "

He recalled China's commitment of November 21,2000, and added: ''Based on what we know about China's past proliferation behaviour, United States is watching and analysing carefully for any sign that Chinese entities may be acting against that commitment".

Before the visit of Gen. (retd) Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, to Beijing in the last week of July,2001, for talks with President Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders, the "Washington Post" carried a report from its correspondent, who had accompanied Gen.Powell to Hanoi for the ASEAN meeting, stating that the US had formally protested against continued Chinese export of missiles and related technology to Pakistan despite last November's commitment.

The report quoted Gen.Powell as saying:"Since November, we have been following closely and discussing the issue (proliferation of missile technology to Pakistan) with them, and the results are mixed. We'll discuss where we think there has been a satisfactory response and where we think more action is required. Yes, proliferation will come up, it will be discussed."

The report added that the US had lodged formal protests and asked for information from China about the alleged sales and that China had denied it was selling the weapons, but so far had not responded to US complaints and requests for clarifications from the Foreign Ministry.

The report pointed out that in the past the US and China had concluded 15 formal non-proliferation pledges (writer's comment: None of which was observed by Beijing) and added that, according to US diplomats, after the November 2000 deal, China continued to export missiles and missile-related technology to Pakistan. "After November 2000, there have been instances that make the agreement meaningless and show China has no intention of implementing it," said a diplomat who had been briefed about China's alleged violations. This may also be linked to Richard Armitage's critical remarks against Pakistan in recent interviews. So far, the Chinese had not acknowledged the sales, the paper said.

The report further said that according to US analysts, a central difficulty was that influential parts of China's Government were not convinced that stopping missile sales would benefit China's security and that the US rejected China's linking the issue with US-Taiwan defence relations.

Reports from Beijing on Gen.Powell's talks with the Chinese leaders on July 28 stated as follows:

* He announced that a bilateral experts committee would meet later this year to work through the issue. "I think we moved the ball forward. There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved and places where we don't have full agreement," he said.

* China strongly denied US allegations that Beijing had violated its agreement with the US by proliferating missiles technology to Pakistan, saying, "China keeps its word." However, China insisted that it should be allowed to fulfil contracts signed before the November 2000 agreement.

* Gen. Powell specifically rejected that argument and "made clear that no one should think there's an out."."There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved and some places where we don't have full agreement," Gen.Powell was quoted as saying after his meeting with his Chinese counterpart. "The US might refuse to allow US-made satellites to be launched in China as a result." However, he said that China agreed to consult the US experts as it worked to establish a clear set of regulations governing the export of missile technology. China has been promising to publish such regulations for years.

* Gen.Powelll said that he raised "specific transfers" of missiles and technology , but declined to say which sales concerned him most. Previously, administration officials had said they were most concerned about sales of missile components to Pakistan.

* A senior (unnamed) State Department official said the administration did not expect rapid changes in China's practices: "No one believes you will change the behavior of 100 million bureaucrats." He further said the Bush Administration would press for specific actions when the dialogue resumed.

After the return of Gen.Powell to Washington, the "Washington Times" carried reports on August 6 and 7,2001, giving the following details of the Chinese violations of the November 21,2000, pledge as detected by the US intelligence agencies:

* The China National Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Corporation sent a dozen shipments of missile components to Pakistan since November,2000, and a US spy satellite detected the latest shipment as it arrived by truck at the mountainous Chinese-Pakistani border May 1,2001. The company supplied components for Pakistan's Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 missile programmes. The consignments were sent by ship and truck.

* The missile components are being used for production of the Shaheen-1, which has an estimated range of 465 miles, and the development of the Shaheen-2, which US intelligence agencies think will have a range of up to 1,240 miles.

* "The problem is serious," a senior administration official was quoted as saying. The arms transfers could lead to the imposition of economic sanctions required under US proliferation laws. "We're looking at that now."

* "They have not met the conditions (specified by the US)," the unnamed official was quoted as saying. China also has failed to draw up an export-control regime that could prevent state-run companies such as CMEC from selling missile parts.

* China, for its part, is demanding that the Bush Administration relax export controls on US satellites being launched on Chinese rockets, in exchange for curbing its arms transfers, the official said.

In his daily press briefing on August 6,2001, Mr.Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said as follows:

* "We are closely watching the issue." Washington would try to design a system of missile export controls through "expert talks" with Beijing. The goal of those talks would be to improve Beijing's "mixed results" in implementing the November, 2000, pledge. "That is certainly not our preferred course (imposing sanctions against China), although we would certainly follow US law if it came to that."

* "But first and foremost, what we want to see is that the Chinese abide by the [November] agreement and implement their new system of controls effectively." Washington hoped to start the talks in time so that they could "produce resolution" before Mr.Bush's visit to China in October.

* "We look forward to expert talks where we can get together with the Chinese, hear from them what they've done, what they are doing, and hear from them about some of the specific transactions that have caused concern." He declined to comment specifically on the "Washington Times" report that a state-run Chinese company had sent a dozen shipments of missile components to Pakistan.

* Washington had been "watching very closely the issue of Chinese missile transfers" and expected Beijing to abide by the November deal. "We intend to do our part of that agreement if we know that the Chinese are doing their part."

In a statement issued at Beijing on August 8,2001,the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC) claimed that it had never exported or provided missile components to Pakistan. It contended that the CMEC's business scope was mainly confined to the contracting of international engineering projects, and export of machinery and electrical products and complete plants. Since its founding, the CMEC had always operated strictly within the bounds of law and the business scope approved by the state and had never exported or provided any military equipment, arms or related components to Pakistan or any other country, it claimed further. It added that the CMEC had never used trucks as a means of transportation for cross-border exports.

Refuting the "Washington Times" report on August 9,2001, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Office urged the US to remove the artificial barriers on satellite exports to China and to bring the satellite launching services between the two countries back to the normal track. She claimed that China had all along been implementing its non-proliferation policy in a serious, earnest and responsible approach and accused some newspapers in the US of frequently spreading "irresponsible and totally unfounded rumours" and slanders of China engaging in proliferation, which was entirely driven by "ulterior motives."

She added that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles had an impact on international peace and security, and all countries had the obligation to strictly observe the relevant international legal instruments. "If any country adopts a selective approach to these legal instruments, it will only undermine the international non-proliferation efforts. It is even more inadvisable to spread irresponsible remarks based on so-called `intelligence' that is fabricated out of thin air in an attempt to exert pressure on other countries." 

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: )