The US is to open its first two immigration offices in China as part of a worldwide programme to stamp out illegal immigrant smuggling. Beijing and Guangzhou will be the sites for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service's offices in China, commissioner Doris Meissner announced yesterday. The move represents an important step forward in US-Sino co-operation on law enforcement. Washington has long requested permission to post full-time immigration agents in China. The new staff will help train Chinese officials to spot fraudulent documents and to investigate offenders. Their offices, opening in the next few weeks, complement an office which has been operating in Hong Kong out of the US Consulate-General. The Chinese offices are part of a major upgrading of the service's investigative power worldwide, which will see a total of 13 new sites employing 45 new agents. The only other new Asian office will be in Tokyo. The initiative is part of Operation Global Reach, which was set up in 1995 by President Bill Clinton's administration to combat alien smuggling. Organised crime gangs tend to target the United States as the final destination for their human cargo, and the influx of Chinese smuggling boats in 1993 and 1994 triggered a political and law-enforcement crisis for the White House. Ms Meissner said the new offices would give America an important new tool to help stem the flow of migrant trafficking at its source.