Russia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday denied any knowledge of attempts by China to purchase Russian long-range missile technology. U.S. defense secretary William Perry said May 21 that Washington had warned Russia, Ukraine, and China against any such transaction after receiving information that Beijing seeks to purchase SS-18 technology from the two former Soviet republics. (See Monitor, May 22) U.S. officials said their intelligence suggested that Beijing hoped to buy the missiles and components from cash-starved Russian and Ukrainian companies, ostensibly to be used in China’s civilian space-launching program.
One Russian deputy foreign minister was said to have responded with incredulity to Perry’s remarks. Another unnamed Foreign Ministry source concurred, but said that Moscow is checking out the report, particularly insofar as Washington had suggested that the sales might involve non-governmental entities. U.S. officials had asserted that they have no evidence of any such sale actually taking place. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, The New York Times, May 22)
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