Thu, Feb 03, 2005
Recent Photos Show 737 Conversion
The Bush administration is reportedly investigating whether
China is converting Boeing civilian aircraft for military purposes
-- a move that would be in direct violation of American export
It's also a move that could mean big trouble for Boeing, which
is pushing hard to sell its new 787 Dreamliner to Chinese
The Washington Times reports a Boeing 737 was recently
photographed at a Chinese air expo with what, for all the world,
looked like a radome in the nose of the plane -- not the kind you'd
expect on a civilian aircraft, but the kind you might look for on
board a reconnaissance bird.
"There is a distinct possibility that China has illegally
modified a US-made transport aircraft to perform military
missions," said Richard Fisher, vice president of the International
Assessment and Strategy Center and a specialist on the Chinese
"We have already begun looking into this matter," Eugene
Cottilli, a spokesman for the Commerce Department's Bureau of
Industry and Security, told Times reporter Bill Gertz.
The State Department also confirms the investigation, according
to the Times.
Selling commercial aircraft doesn't necessarily require an
export license, according to one official quoted in the Times
story. But license or not, converting civilian technology for
military purposes (as seen above) is against US law when done with
US technology outside the US.
The US stopped all military sales to China after the 1989
Tienamen Square crackdown on civilian democracy protesters.
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