China defends arms sale to Zimabwe as cargo returns undelivered

April 24th, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by admin  

Johannesburg, April 24 (DPA) China Thursday defended its attempts to arm President Robert Mugabe’s regime after a Chinese freighter with weapons and ammunition bound for Zimbabwe began to head for home with its cargo. “Some people in the US are always critical, positioning themselves as the world’s policeman, which is not welcomed by the world,” said Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Jiang was referring to a call by the US earlier this week for China to recall the An Yue Jiang, which is carrying 77 tonnes of weapons and ammunitions for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and to halt all arms sales to Mugabe’s government.

The ship had been sailing around southern Africa in search of a port in which to offload its cargo for onward transport to landlocked Zimbabwe.

Several ports had refused it a berth after dockworkers had refused or threatened to refuse to offload the cargo, saying to do so given the escalating tensions in post-elections Zimbabwe would be irresponsible.

The vessel had been recalled by China Ocean Shipping Company, the spokeswoman stressed, because it could not make delivery, and not because China was in contravention of any international laws.

China’s military exports met with UN Security Council conditions, Jiang said.

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