Beijing rejects U.S. accusations of biological weapons program

The Chinese government rejected a U.S. State Department report stating Beijing is working on a biological warfare program.

Zhang Yan, director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's arms control department, dismissed the report, released Tuesday, as irresponsible and "far from the truth."

"The report by the U.S. State Department has turned a blind eye to China's considerable efforts in the field of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation," Zhang said at a news conference.

The U.S. report said that in the years since China acceded to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1984, it has failed to comply with its obligations under the agreement.

"China continues to maintain some elements of an offensive biological warfare program it is believed to have started in the 1950s," the report said.

But the report said Washington had no details of the program.

"These statements are far from the truth and are irresponsible," Zhang said. "We hope that the U.S. side will stop such erroneous practices and we also express our strong dissatisfaction."

Zhang was speaking at a news conference held to release a Chinese government report on arms control policy.

The report said Beijing has taken concrete measures to achieve the "complete prohibition and thorough destruction of biological and chemical weapons."

Beijing has also "faithfully honored and fulfilled its relevant obligations and responsibilities" for disarmament and nonproliferation, Zhang said, according to the AP.

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