Russia Claims China Spy Arrest

Russian authorities have revealed that it has had a Chinese agent in custody for the past year. The suspect, Tong Shengyong, allegedly tried to obtain information relating to surface-to-air missiles. From AFP:

The FSB domestic security service said the case of Tong Shengyong was forwarded by prosecutors to the Moscow City Court on Tuesday.

“The investigation established that the Chinese national (was) working on assignment from the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China,” FSB said in a statement.

It said Tong had posed as an interpreter for “official delegations” and tried to purchase data from Russian nationals. The espionage charge carries a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.

The S-300 system is an older version of Russian surface-to-air missiles that Moscow has produced since the Soviet era and has since replaced with the more modern S-400.

Analysts said its last remaining secrets probably relate to its rare repair technology and spare parts — details that the Chinese suspect was allegedly looking into at the time of his arrest.

China has been a long-time purchaser of Russian arms, but may also be trying to copy Russian military technology. This is causing friction between the two nations. From The Guardian:

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the centre for analysis of strategies and technologies, a defence thinktank in Moscow, said: “They [the Chinese] are trying to copy this system illegally. They’ve already copied a whole series of our weapons.

“They’re trying to clone the S-300, to serve their interests and also to export. As I understand it, it’s not all working out. They probably wanted extra documentation to better deal with this task of reverse engineering.”

A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) released this week warned that the Sino-Russian relationship was growing increasingly uneasy given China’s international rise.

“In the coming years, while relations will remain close at the diplomatic level, the two cornerstones of the partnership over the past two decades – military and energy co-operation – are crumbling,” the thinktank wrote. “As a result, Russia’s significance to China will continue to diminish.”

October 5, 2011 3:54 PM
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