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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 14:42 GMT
US 'anger' at Israel weapons sale
The Chinese Military Museum in Beijing
The row over weapons sales has caused an atmosphere of suspicion
The Israeli defence ministry has confirmed that it faced questioning by Washington over arms sales to China.

But the ministry denied media reports that the US had demanded the dismissal of a top official over the matter.

A statement from the Israeli defence ministry said arms exports to China were being clarified with US officials in what it called a good spirit.

The statement followed Israeli reports that the sale of a sensitive weapons system to China had angered Washington.

According to the reports it prompted American calls for the resignation of the defence ministry's director, Amos Yaron.

The head of the Israeli parliament's defence committee, Youval Steinitz, said tensions, hidden from the public, had appeared in the last few years over Israel's weapons sales to China.

"There has been a tightening of checks exercised by the US on Israeli weapons exports... we are very sensitive to US requirements," Mr Steinitz said.

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz also denied the newspaper reports, while accepting that a dossier on Israeli weapons sales to China was "in the process of clarification".

Correspondents say the row risks adding to an atmosphere of suspicion between the Israel and the Pentagon.


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