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China Tells U.S. Congress to Back Off Unocal Deal

BEIJING -- China is telling Congress to butt out of the proposed takeover of Unocal by China's state-owned CNOOC oil company, according to the Associated Press.

Members of Congress have warned that the $18.5 billion takeover bid could pose risks to U.S. national security. Some lawmakers have called for a full review by the Bush administration.

Last week the U.S. House passed a non-binding resolution urging the White House to block any CNOOC-Unocal deal on national security grounds, a resolution that irritated officials in China.

CNOOC officials have welcomed a security review. They deny that CNOOC is acting on behalf of China's government, which is in the midst of a multi-billion-dollar campaign to secure foreign oil and gas supplies to power its booming economy.

China has been insisting CNOOC's bid is purely a business matter.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press, China's foreign ministry says Congress must "correct its mistaken ways of politicizing economic and trade issues and stop interfering in the normal commercial exchanges between enterprises of the two countries."

CNOOC is bidding against Chevron for Unocal, the ninth-largest U.S. oil and gas firm.

The foreign ministry statement continued: "CNOOC's bid to take over the U.S. Unocal company is a normal commercial activity between enterprises and should not fall victim to political interference. The development of economic and trade cooperation between China and the United States conforms to the interests of both sides."
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