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Russia says suspect sold China rocket technology

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) The chief executive of a Russian space technology firm sold China secret technology for the creation of missile delivery systems, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said.

The FSB said in November they had arrested Igor Reshetin, general director of the TsNIIMASH-Export firm, for selling technology that could have been converted to military use and for failing to obtain government approval.

An FSB spokesman said in a statement yesterday Reshetin was accused of ''the illegal export and sale to the All China Import-Export Company of Precision Machine Building controlled technology ... which could be used in the creation of missile delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction''.

China is spending the equivalent of billions of dollars on developing its military and civilian space programmes, a source of friction with the United States.

Beijing's space capability aroused concern in January when, it destroyed one of its ageing satellites by launching a missile from earth.

In 2003, China became only the third country -- after the United States and the former Soviet Union -- to launch a man into space aboard one of its own rockets. In October 2005, it sent two men into orbit and plans a space walk by 2008.

Russia, resurgent from a decade of economic decline, and China, emerging as a new global power, are both seeking to boost their influence in the post-Cold War world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Moscow in March that Moscow's relations with Beijing were exemplary.

But senior Russian officials view China's growing military and economic might with concern.

The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet Union's KGB, has enjoyed increased influence since Vladimir Putin, a former spy, was elected president in 2000.

REUTERS SZ PM0450

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