Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Chinese anger at US claims

US report says China benefitted from 20 years of nuclear espionage

China has reacted angrily to American allegations that it has spent the past two decades stealing nuclear secrets.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry describes the allegations as groundless slander, aimed at whipping up anti-China sentiment in the United States.


The BBC's Duncan Hewitt: "Tensions look set to grow"
China also accuses the US of trying, in part, to draw attention away from Nato's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

The Cox Committee report into nuclear espionage at US military sites, which is being released on Tuesday, is expected to say that China is able to build advanced nuclear weapons based on technology stolen from American defence laboratories.


[ image:  ]
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said: "The attempt to stir up feelings about a China threat" in the US would not work.

"Some Americans are stubbornly clinging to a Cold War mentality and are making a great effort to dream up stories about China spying on US nuclear technology," Zhu said, adding: "Their despicable attempt is doomed to fail."

Meanwhile, an official at the Defence Ministry in Beijing said China had never stolen secrets from any other country, including the US.

China and Clinton

Beijing would like the Clinton administration to distance itself from the report and its conclusions.

Correspondents say most Chinese analysts and diplomats believe the spying allegations are mainly to do with American domestic politics, and are a way for the president's opponents to cause him difficulties.

BBC Beijing Correspondent Duncan Hewitt says tensions are set to grow between China and the US government.

He points to the harsh criticism in the US of the Clinton administration for being "too soft on China", and the high level of suspicion in Beijing following the embassy bombing.

China has called for a full investigation and is waiting impatiently for an response.

Strained relations

There have been a series of blows to the US-China relationship since the euphoria of President Clinton's trip to China last June.

With his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin, Mr Clinton proclaimed a "constructive strategic partnership" and the two leaders agreed to differ on issues like human rights.

But in the wake of the attack on its embassy, China cut military co-operation and suspended a human rights dialogue with the US, insisting the Nato raid was intentional.

There was outrage on the streets, and thousands of stone-throwing protestors surrounded the US embassy in Beijing for three days.

Other issues dogging China-US relations are

  • their failure to agree on a formula for China's entry into the World Trade Organisation
  • the continuing issue of Taiwan
  • American condemnation of human rights abuses in China.



    Advanced options | Search tips




    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




  • Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



    Relevant Stories

    25 May 99 | Americas
    Clinton braced for nuclear spy fallout

    24 May 99 | Americas
    How China targeted US secrets

    24 May 99 | Americas
    The US and China: An uneasy relationship

    23 May 99 | Americas
    Nuclear spying warnings 'ignored'

    10 May 99 | Americas
    US scientist 'leaked radar secrets'

    09 Mar 99 | Americas
    Analysis: China catches up by espionage





    Internet Links


    Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affais

    The White House

    US State Department

    Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




    In this section

    Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

    DiCaprio film trial begins

    Millennium sect heads for the hills

    Uzbekistan voices security concerns

    From Business
    Chinese imports boost US trade gap

    ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

    Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

    Malaysian candidates named

    North Korea expels US 'spy'

    Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

    China warns US over Falun Gong

    Thais hand back Cambodian antiques