February 16, 2006:
Last week, U.S. authorities charged two foreigners with attempting to export military equipment to China. Ko-Suen Moo, a Taiwanese man, was arrested last November. His partner, Frenchman Maurice Serge Voros, is still at large. The two were trying to export an F-16 engine, forty engines for the UH-60 helicopter, plus cruise missiles and other items, to China. It was not revealed exactly how far along this plot was. China has denied any connection with the two men. However, much military equipment has made its way to China. And China has, in the past, been prepared to pay well for any foreign military equipment that can be gotten into China. The Chinese are usually more successful at getting, literally, bits and pieces of engines out of the country. China prefers to use many spies, to go after many different pieces of military equipment. The complete plans for an engine, for example, can be moved out of the country via the Internet, or a memory stick. Small components can be hidden in a cargo container full of more mundane (and legal-to-export) goods. While getting a complete F-16 engine is spectacular, it's an effort that is more likely to fail. Getting it out in pieces is more likely to happen, and not be noticed.