Pakistan decries US sanctions

On Wednesday, Pakistan criticized as "unwarranted and unjustified" new US sanctions imposed Tuesday because the US says Pakistan and Iran received missile technology from China.

"The United States has raised the issue of alleged transfer of missile technology by China to Pakistan from time to time over the years," foreign ministry spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said.

"China has always responded and maintained that it never transferred any technology to Pakistan contrary to the guidelines of the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), which it voluntarily accepts," the spokesman said.

The two-year ban on the import of certain US technologies was imposed against the defense ministry and the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission in Pakistan, state department official Richard Boucher told reporters in Washington.

"The new sanctions will actually have very limited economic effect, but they do send a strong signal that the United States opposes these countries' missiles programs," the US official said.

Pakistan has been under US sanctions since 1990 over the nuclear issue when Washington slapped an embargo on military sales and stopped delivery of 28 F-16 planes bought by Islamabad in 1989.

The US imposed further penalties after Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in response to Indian detonations in May 1998 leading to suspension of international loans and direct US development assistance.

Japan's annual assistance, worth around $600 million, also remains frozen, with Tokyo linking resumption of the aid to Pakistan signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

However, the European Union has spared Pakistan, saying saying isolation would worsen the problem. "We do not want to see Pakistan isolated," a EU mission leader Dominique Girard said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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