Chinese Citizen Caught
Looking For Missile
Guidance Components
NEW YORK - A Chinese man has been arrested in California, accused of trying to buy equipment vital to missile guidance systems and smuggle it to his homeland, The New York Times reported today.
Federal officials in Washington said China was bidding to enhance the accuracy of its long-range weapons with the high-tech American equipment, whose export is rigidly limited by the State Department.
The man, Yao Yi, tried to buy fiber optic gyroscopes from a Massachusetts defense contractor, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Boston.
The State Department refused to approve the sale, and Yao then allegedly secured export of the gyroscopes from another Boston company " actually a dummy corporation set up by the U.S. Customs Service as part of a sting operation, the paper said.
Yao was arrested at a fiber optics conference in San Diego on Feb. 22.
Federal officials suspect that Yao, who claimed to need the equipment for a Chinese superspeed railroad project, was buying for the Chinese military.
The gyroscopes Yao allegedly tried to buy can be used for railroad projects, but federal officials scoffed at Yao's story. One official told the Times that using a gyroscope for a railroad project was like flying an F-14 to a grocery store.
One of Yao's associates, Collin Xu, was arrested in Boston two weeks ago with fiber optic gyroscopes in his possession, federal officials said.
The Pentagon last week reported to Congress that China is decades away from being able to send missiles far beyond its borders. But the Pentagon said that China's cruise and ballistics missiles will give it the ability to attain military and political goals through intimidation.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrived in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Sunday and was expected to criticize China's missile stockpiling.