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New axis of evil?

President Bush’s well-known “Axis of Evil” characterization of Iran, Iraq and North Korea needs another axis, according to United States officials.

The intelligence community has determined China teamed up with North Korea to produce and deliver components for Iran’s missile and weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, reports Middle East Newsline.

Officials said China produced the components and exported them through North Korea to avoid U.S. sanctions.

This, despite the fact that China announced export controls on military and dual-use technologies last year.

The arms components were ultimately delivered to a range of Middle East clients.

As a result of this revelation, according to the news service, the Bush administration has decided to get tough with Beijing and will impose sanctions on Chinese companies found to have been cooperating with North Korea in the fields of missile and weapons of mass destruction.

A lengthy debate within the National Security Council and State Department is said to have preceded the decision.

China is among the nations that participated in the six-way talks held last month with North Korea over its nuclear-production program and stated intention to test a nuclear weapon.