Just when you thought you’d heard the last of Wikileaks now that its founder Julian Assange is facing various legal challenges, the whistleblower site unanimously hated by governments worldwide appears to be sputtering back to life once again. And it appears it’s concentrating a bit of its fire power on China for now.
According to a Haaretz exclusive, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Embassy in Beijing a secret cable to take action against a Chinese company that is allegedly selling chemical warfare equipment, technology and know-how to Iran:
The document, dated July 24, 2009, reveals American concerns about the company, Zibo Chemet, which has supplied vital equipment for Iran’s chemical-weapons program. Such sales are forbidden, according to the regulations of the Australia Group, which supervises the sale of sensitive chemical technology, equipment and materials. China is member of that group. According to the cable, “We have new information indicating that Zibo Chemet transferred technology for the production of glass-lined reactor equipment to Iranian customers, significantly enhancing Iran’s ability to produce indigenously chemical equipment suitable for a chemical warfare program.”
The cable asks the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to pass on information about the company to the Chinese government and demand that it take aggressive action to get the firm to cease its shipments. The cable also provides background on the company, revealing its dubious track record.
It says the company in April 2007 was blacklisted by the United States amid suspicions that it supplied similar equipment to Iran, North Korea and Syria. The earlier suspicions forced the Chinese government to open an investigation into the company and take “limited punitive action,” which is not detailed in the cable.
Meanwhile, over in Central Asia, the Kazakh Telegraph Agency has another interesting Wikileaks exclusive. It reported:
[S]everal years ago director of the Kazakhstani Institute of Oil and Gas (KIOG), Serik Burkitbayev, reported that China is demanding an offshore Caspian bloc as quid-pro-quo for support of a natural gas pipeline to China.
«Director of the Kazakhstani Institute of Oil and Gas (KIOG), Serik Burkitbayev, reported that China is demanding an offshore Caspian bloc as quid-pro-quo for support of a natural gas pipeline to China. That pipeline, to be built in stages, will initially transport Turkmen and Uzbek gas, then Western Kazakhstani. KIOG is seeking the services of a U.S. consulting company to develop the project. Burkitbayev also voiced growing Kazakhstani displeasure with China over the Atasu-Alanshankou oil pipeline”, reads a cable of the US embassy.
Burkitbayev said that project’s (Kazakhstan-China gasline – KazTAG) cost would make $3-4 bl.
“Burkitbayev was optimistic, though unclear, where volumes would be found. He said that that the Uzbeks and the Turkmen were against supplying gas to China, though some Lukoil fields in Uzbekistan may contribute”.
Burkitbayev griped that it was “difficult” to work with the Chinese. Referring to the Atasu-Alashankou oil pipeline, he added that, “the government is not happy, the oil companies are not happy”. He hinted that the government of Kazakhstan lost a large degree of control when it agreed to let the Chinese finance and fill the pipeline.