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China rejects covert agents charges
Updated: 2006-02-14 18:45

China rejected charges on Tuesday that it had covert agents operating in the United States to export military equipment, calling such accusations groundless.

U.S. prosecutors last week charged a Taiwanese citizen and a Frenchman of trying to illegally export an F-16 jet engine, Blackhawk helicopter engines and cruise missiles to the Chinese mainland, alleging they violated the Arms Export Control Act.

"This kind of accusation that China is collecting scientific and military intelligence is groundless," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.

"China's military imports go through strict surveillance. Chinese enterprises will never purchase any military goods that cannot provide legal documents," Liu said.

Washington has repeatedly expressed concern about Beijing's intentions as it pours more money into its military, and believes its military growth could upset the balance of power with the Taiwan Straits.

China also distanced itself from an investigation in Tokyo into Japan's Mitutoyo Corp., which Japanese media said was suspected of exporting equipment that could be used in producing nuclear weapons.

Police believe Mitutoyo, which produces and sells precision measuring equipment, illegally sold equipment that could be used to enrich uranium to Japanese companies in China and Thailand. A similar device made by the firm was found in Libya, the reports said.

Liu said the charges concerned Mitutoyo and its subsidiaries alone.

"We investigated this issue and found it has nothing to do with China," he said.

"China's position on nonproliferation is clear. We resolutely oppose any proliferation," Liu said, adding that China abides by the regulations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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