Beijing: China has provided the US with a list of alleged fugitives amid a campaign to track down corrupt officials and others who have fled abroad, the State Department's representative to recent law enforcement talks said on Friday.
William Brownfield, the assistant secretary for international narcotics and law Enforcement affairs, said the sides identified a "finite number of individuals and agreed to develop a strategy to address each of those."
From there, the sides would "see if we could build from that to a larger solution to the problem," Brownfield said.
China and the US have no extradition agreement, although the law offers alternatives. Wanted persons can be dealt with through prosecution in the country to which they fled or be expelled for immigration violations. Their assets can also be seized if determined to have been illegally acquired, leaving them little option but to return home.
An American official speaking on condition of anonymity said China provided more than 100 names, but offered little information about their identities, alleged offences or possible whereabouts in the US.
The move appears to be part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's push to extend an ongoing crackdown on corruption to those officials who have fled abroad with their ill-gotten gains.
Beijing has estimated that since the mid-1990s, 16,000 to 18,000 corrupt officials and employees of state-owned enterprises have fled China or gone into hiding with pilfered assets totaling more than CNY 800 billion (USD 135 billion).
While China has expressed interest in negotiating an extradition treaty, its failure to provide reciprocity by agreeing to extradite Chinese citizens accused of crimes in the US was preventing that from happening, the official said.
The official also said it was unlikely that the necessary two-thirds of the Senate would provide the necessary approval to ratify an extradition treaty.
Even if a treaty was ratified, an American judge would still have to rule that the offence for which the person is wanted is also a criminal offence in the US and that the person would receive a trial that would comply with "at least basic legal standards in the US," the official said.
"So at the end of the day, at least at this moment, an extradition treaty does not seem to be in the cards, but there are other ways to accomplish the desired objective of denying safe haven to criminals and we are quite willing to work with the government of China on those alternative ways," the official said.