WASHINGTON - The U.S. has raised concerns with Israel about its sales and transfer of military equipment and technology to China, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
The spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of an Israeli report that Washington
is demanding that Israel provide details of more than 60 percent of recent security deals with China and its arms export trade in general.
“This is certainly an issue that is being discussed between the U.S. and Israel, and we have made our concerns about the sale and transfer of defense equipment and technology to China known to Israel,” Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department said.
“We continue also to raise concerns with our allies, our friends and partners and look for them to take responsible approaches to arms sales to China too. This is broader than just Israel,” he said.
Recently U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld highlighted American concerns that a rapid Chinese military buildup is putting at risk the military balance in the region.
'Both sides want affair to end'
The current dispute with Israel erupted over a deal Israel made to upgrade Harpy Killer unmanned drones it had sold to China.
The United States is demanding the dismissal of four senior defense ministry officials over weapons sales to China.
Ynet has learned the officials are Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron, head of the ministry’s New York-based procurement division, Kuti Mor, Yossi Ben-Hanan, head of the department for security assistance and export, and Yehiel Horev, security officer for the ministry.
According to reports, the call is not part of Washington’s official solution to the deepening crisis between the two defense departments, but if they are not removed from their positions, the U.S. will refuse to participate in joint ventures.
However, the Defense Ministry said there is no truth to the report regarding U.S. demands to fire senior Defense Ministry officials.
Pentagon 'mole' affair hinders relations
"A constructive dialogue is currently being held with the American government," the ministry said in a statement. "During these discussions both sides have shown a clear intent to bring an end to the affair."
Yet another dark cloud looms over the “special relations” between the U.S. and Israeli security establishments, as a Pentagon analyst has been indicted on charges he leaked classified military information to employees of a pro-Israel group, according to court papers made public Monday.
The six-count indictment charges that Lawrence A. Franklin conspired to disclose national defense and classified information to people not entitled to receive it, including information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. One count accuses him of conspiring to communicate the information to an agent and representative of a foreign government.
The indictment identifies two coconspirators as former executives of AIPAC,
a lobbying organization influential on U.S.-Israeli relations.
It is estimated the two will also stand trial.