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China Aerospace Co. Denies Spying

June 7, 1999

BEIJING (AP) _ Rebutting a U.S. congressional report that alleges Chinese spying, a top aerospace official said China had a solid commercial satellite program long before it began launching U.S. satellites, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.

China Aerospace Corp.‘s spokeswoman Zhang Lihui maintained that China had the technology for commercial satellite launches before it sent Hughes Corp.’s Asiasat I into space in 1990, the China Daily reported.

A U.S. congressional committee concluded that China stole nuclear secrets from U.S. weapons labs over 20 years and that China used its commercial satellite program to improve its rocket technology.

Zhang, the spokeswoman, maintained that security made any theft impossible. U.S. satellites entered China free of customs checks and were stored under around-the-clock protection of a U.S. surveillance system, the China Daily reported.

``Since last April, some anti-China politicians in the U.S. have been dreaming up stories about the issue,″ China Daily quoted Zhang as saying.

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