CHINA has been singled out in the American Congress as the country most to blame for the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Three leading senators accused Beijing during a congressional hearing of being the main culprit in the worldwide transfer of lethal weapons involving the likes of Syria, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Libya. US President Mr Bill Clinton's nominee for Under-Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, Ms Lynn Davis, who testified at the hearing, mildly defended Beijing but agreed that China shared much of the blame for the proliferation of deadly weapons. In her defence of China, Ms Davis said Beijing had agreed to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to abide by the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime. She assured senators China ''understands'' that non-proliferation is an important goal of the US. But right-wing Senator Jesse Helms, who delivered the harshest attack on China during the hearing, said Beijing ''didn't care'' about US policy goals even though it understood them. Senator Helms released a chart showing China in the centre of a global arms trade involving missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Senator Paul Sarbanes blasted Beijing's latest decision to sharply increase its military budget, charging that defence spending had doubled since 1988. And Senator Paul Simon blamed Beijing for the arms race between India and Pakistan. Ms Davis assured the senators that the Clinton administration would take the lead in a multi-lateral effort to curb the flow of deadly weapons. She said she had already received instructions from Secretary of State Mr Warren Christopher to prepare a ''comprehensive non-proliferation strategy'' that builds on existing arms control treaties. Meanwhile, according to a report by the Jane's Defence Weekly, Vietnam is unhappy about a growing rapprochement between Russia and China and worried about military links. The report said Vietnam has suspended talks with Russia on the future of the Cam Ranh Bay military base because of displeasure over Moscow's growing arms trade with China. It said Hanoi was worried over a statement by President Boris Yeltsin that Russian arms sales to China last year were worth US$1.8 billion (HK$13.92 billion).