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  Words in the News
  This week's story is about the report which claims that China has stolen nuclear weapons technology from the United States. We heard from the BBC's Washington Correspondent, Paul Reynolds and from Bates Gill, a commentator on China from the Brookings Institution.
  Audio Listen to the report in full
weapons in China

27th May 1999

US/China - Espionage Report

NEWS 1   The report paints a picture of an aggressive Chinese espionage campaign which successfully acquired enough secrets to put China on a par with the United States in nuclear technology. It said that over a period of twenty years China stole information on all the warheads used on American missiles and that its spying might well be continuing. President Clinton has had the report since January and has acted to tighten up security at the weapons laboratories. But he made it clear that his policy of engagement with China would continue. (Paul Reynolds)

paints a picture: an idiomatic expression meaning ‘describes’. You could also say ‘tells the story of’

aggressive: usually means ‘angry and violent’, but here the word is used to mean ‘forceful and determined’

espionage: spying. Espionage is the activity of finding out the political, military or industrial secrets of your enemies or rivals using spies

on a par with: equally good (or equally bad)

tighten up: to make something more efficient

engagement: maintaining contact with China, working on a relationship with China. The opposite of a policy of separation

NEWS 2  

I think it’s going to make him even less capable than he already was of forging any new constructive forward progress with this relationship. And interestingly, these developments are also having an impact in Beijing, where their perceptions too are strengthened that the United States is a country with which they can’t have a good relationship. They have suspicions as well. So in both capitals we have expanding constituencies who view the other side as being a problem.(Bates Gill)


forging: making, creating. If you forge something you use a lot of effort to create that thing.

Beijing: in news stories and news analysis the capital city of a country is often used to mean the government of the country. So here Beijing is a way of saying the Chinese government

perceptions: opinions you have formed by observing something

expanding: growing

constituencies: usually used to describe geographical areas in a democracy which are allowed to elect someone to represent them in a parliament. Here the word is used to mean groups of people who share the same opinion

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

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