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|Subject: WikiLeaks: Chinese weapons fall into hands of insurgents Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:07 am|| |
Insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq have obtained Chinese-made weapons Photo: AP
WikiLeaks: Chinese weapons fall into hands of insurgents
Chinese-made weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting
Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan because of China’s failure to
enforce export controls on arms to Iran, the leaked cables show
By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter 7:00AM GMT 03 Feb 2011
US diplomats also feared that Chinese companies were selling materials
to Iran that could be used to build nuclear missiles and other weapons
of mass destruction.
Chinese-made guns, as well as rocket-propelled grenades and
surface-to-air missiles containing Chinese-made components, have all
been used against Coalition forces or civilian targets in Iraq, the US
claims, while other weapons have been obtained by militants in
The US was so concerned about Chinese arms and components being sold to
Iran that in September 2008 the State Department launched a major
diplomatic offensive to put pressure on Beijing.
It decided to share intelligence with eight “key allies” including Spain
and Italy to “persuade China to enforce its export control laws more
effectively” and to “aggressively implement” UN Security Council
resolutions on the sale of arms and weapons materials.
Ambassadors were told to encourage the foreign governments to point out
to the Chinese that arms sales to Iran “could ultimately damage China’s
reputation and its bilateral relationship with” each of the countries.
Patricia McNerney, of the US Bureau of International Security and
Nonproliferation, listed examples of Chinese-made weapons seized from
insurgents in Iraq in a cable sent from Washington to US diplomats
They included “new-condition Chinese produced small arms” which were
“found together with newly-produced Iranian military materiel”; a
surface-to-air missile fired at a Boeing 747 civilian airliner over
Baghdad in August 2004 “assembled in Iran using a mix of Chinese and
Iranian parts”; “two Chinese-origin QW-1 MANPADS (surface-to-air
missiles) that Iran had transferred to Iraqi insurgents” and “hundreds
of newly-produced Iranian PG-7-AT1 rocket-propelled grenades that
contain Chinese-made base detonators” that had been “repeatedly fired at
Coalition forces” by Shia militants.
Raising concerns about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme, Ms
McNerney added: “Certain state-owned Chinese entities and private firms
continue to export or transship key items and/or dual-use technology
needed to develop weapons of mass destruction or their means of
delivery, as well as conventional weapons to Iran.”
She told US diplomats: “Getting China to aggressively implement United
Nations Security Council resolutions as well as more effectively enforce
its own export controls regarding transfers of dual-use and military
items to Iran is an essential component of our overall diplomatic
strategy to thwart Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and delivery
systems for weapons of mass destruction.”
In 2008 the US also confronted China over a shipment to Iran of 208
tonnes of potassium perchlorate, which can be used as rocket fuel.
The alleged breaches were highlighted a year after President Bush had
raised the issue of arms sales with Chinese President Hu at a summit in
China is by no means the only country accused of failing to implement
export controls on arms and materials sales to Iran. In April 2009 the
ambassador to the EU in Brussels noted concerns that smaller EU member
states were failing to take seriously enough the threat posed by Iran.
One EU official told US diplomats that he had to “continually remind”
European countries “that the situation is dangerous and unabated will
lead to nuclear war in the Middle East”.
Later the same year the German computer firm Siemens was forced to
recall 111 boxes of computers that it had sold to a Chinese company
linked to Iran’s nuclear programme. A cable from the US Embassy in
Berlin noted: “Siemens needs to be more careful about whom they sell
to,” though it had “technically” done nothing wrong, as the computers
were not controlled export items.
The US also raised concerns about the French firm Sofradir selling
infrared detectors to a Chinese firm that were being used in thermal
imaging systems sold on by China to Iran.