China recalls Zimbabwe arms ship

Beijing foreign ministry defends "responsible and cautious" approach to arms sales.

    Zimbabwe's neighbours have barred the vessel
    An Yue Jiang from entering their waters [EPA]

    Earlier this week the US state department expressed concerns that the arms "could be used against individuals who are merely trying to freely express their political will".


    Commenting on the shipment at a regular foreign ministry press briefing in Beijing, spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the decision had been taken by the Chinese company involved to recall the vessel.


    She said the shipment was completely legal and fell within the established norms of international trade.


    "In the field of conventional weapons, we have trade relations with some countries. These are consistent with our laws and with Security Council resolutions and China's international obligations," Jiang said.


    "We have been very responsible and cautious with regards to weapons exports."




    China has been under pressure to use its close relations with Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, to help mediate in the election crisis.


    However William Hess, country manager for China with the consultancy company, Global Insight, said such pressure runs against a key pillar of Chinese foreign policy - not to interfere in domestic political issues of other countries.


    "The Chinese side would be very reluctant to take on this role where they take a very and very direct in determining the outcome of a domestic political question," he told Al Jazeera.


    "They want to make clear to all sides that they are playing a non-interfering role."


    Officials from Mugabe's Zanu-PF have said Zimbabwe has a sovereign right to defend itself and buy weapons from "any legitimate source worldwide".


    "I don't understand all this hullabaloo about a lone ship," Patrick Chinamasa, the country's justice minister, said in Harare this week.

    "We don't need clearance from anyone."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons