Chinese weapons fall into hands of insurgents: WikiLeaks

US diplomats also feared that Chinese co. were selling materials to Iran.

Last Updated: Feb 03, 2011, 23:40 PM IST

London: Chinese-made weapons have fallen into
the hands of insurgents fighting Coalition forces in Iraq and
Afghanistan as China has failed to enforce export controls on
arms to Iran, according to US diplomatic cables published by
WikiLeaks.

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, `The Daily
Telegraph` reported today.

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 Afghanistan.

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 Non-proliferation, listed examples of
Chinese-made weapons seized from insurgents in Iraq in a cable
sent from Washington to US diplomats abroad.

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".

Raising concerns about Iran`s alleged nuclear weapons
programme, McNerney said, "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".

According to the report, she told US diplomats, "Getting
China to aggressively implement UN Security Council
resolutions as well as more effectively enforce its own export
controls regarding transfers of dual-use and military items to
Iran as 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 the
then President Bush had raised the issue of arms sales with
Chinese President Hu at a summit in Australia.

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 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.

PTI