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China Reform Monitor - No. 696
China closes a door to Taipei at the WHO...;
... but leaves one open on earthquake aid
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
June 5, 2008
The U.S. Justice Department says a Taiwanese-American man, Tai Shen Kuo, has admitted to a charge of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to China. The New Orleans businessman, who faces up to life in prison, will be sentenced on August 8th. The Justice Department says Kuo obtained secret information from Gregg Bergersen, a U.S. Defense Department analyst, and then passed it to a Chinese official for approximately $50,000, as well as an assortment of gifts and trips. The alleged offenses took place from March 2007 to February 2008. Bergersen has already pleaded guilty and faces up to 10 years in jail, the Voice of America reports.
In response to the most recent attempt by Taiwan authorities to petition the World Health Organization [WHO] for membership, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang unequivocally reiterated Beijing’s position that: “Taiwan is not eligible to participate in the WHO, nor is it eligible to attend as an observer,” Xinhua’s domestic news service reports.
These comments come as the Taiwan Red Cross Society arrived in Chengdu, Sichuan via a direct charter flight. The Taiwan team will carry out search and rescue work because, according to the official Zhongguo Xinwen She news agency, “The people in the mainland will be able to express their self-confidence and courage if they accept assistance from their compatriots in Taiwan.”
Zimbabwe’s deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, has confirmed that the weapons carried by China's so-called "ship of shame", the An Yue Jiang, have arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital. Despite an international campaign to prevent the arms reaching President Robert Mugabe's regime, the arms delivery -- including three million AK47 bullets, more than 3000 mortar shells and launchers, and some 1500 rocket-propelled grenades -- arrived as Mugabe's security forces cracked down on political opponents ahead of a presidential run-off election.
Five weeks ago, dock workers in the South African port of Durban refused to unload the ship. Since then, a South African navy vessel SAS Drakensberg secretly refueled the ship offshore before it rounded the Cape of Good Hope and headed for the Congo-Brazzaville port of Ponta Negra. The arms were finally flown from Ponta Negra to Harare in a transport aircraft belonging to Avient Aviation, a UK- registered freight charter airline operating out of Zimbabwe, South Africa’s Sunday Herald reports.
During a visit to China by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev the two countries signed a $1 billion deal under which Moscow agreed to build a nuclear fuel enrichment plant and deliver uranium to Beijing. Under the deal, Russia would construct the $500 million facility in China, supplying low enriched uranium for its operation. The two leaders also expressed concern over the U.S. missile defense plan, saying it was not conducive to strategic balance and stability, the Press Trust of India reports.
[Editor's Note: While the boost in nuclear cooperation is significant, the trend in another important arena, arms sales, is heading in the opposite direction. Chinese arms imports from Russia, its largest supplier, began to drop dramatically in 2007 after years of robust growth. Russia’s total arms exports to China fell 63 percent from 2006 to 2007 (from $3.5 billion to $1.3 billion), despite the continuing expansion of overall trade at a healthy pace, according to statistics compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.]