A Chinese woman residing in the United States on Tuesday entered a guilty plea to federal charges of illegally exporting high-tech paint coatings that could support Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, July 19).
As the onetime managing director of a Chinese branch of PPG Industries, Xun Wang over a period of years used an intermediary in China to export shipments of a sophisticated epoxy coating to Pakistan where it was used to coat the inside of the nation's second atomic energy reactor at the Chashma complex.
Wang could potentially be imprisoned for five years and fined $250,000 for violating U.S. Commerce Department nonproliferation guidelines. She previously paid a $200,000 fine for her role in the crime. Wang, who is a permanent U.S. resident, is presently aiding U.S. authorities in their investigation.
"At the end of last year, the Chinese subsidiary of a U.S. company pleaded guilty to illegally exporting high-performance coatings for use in a Pakistani nuclear reactor," U.S. Prosecutor Ronald Machen said. "Today we are pleased to see the former managing director of that subsidiary accept responsibility for her role in the crime."
"We also welcome the defendant's decision to cooperate with the government in our ongoing investigation of this blatant violation of U.S. export laws," he continued (Agence France-Presse/Express Tribune, Nov. 16).
Some U.S. analysts speculate that Pakistan is constructing a facility close to the Chashma 2 reactor where used nuclear fuel would be processed into bomb-grade plutonium, the Associated Press noted (Nedra Pickler, Associated Press/Boston Globe, Nov. 15).