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FM: China's arms trade with Zimbabwe 'normal', 'irrelevant' to African country's domestic situation

2008/04/22

BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday said the country's shipment of military items to Zimbabwe was "normal trade" and "irrelevant" to the African nation's recent domestic situation.

    In reply to a reporter's question at a routine press conference here, Foreign Ministry spokADV_CONTENTeswoman Jiang Yu noted it was common practice in international trade to transport goods to inland African countries through South Africa's Durban port.

    She added that COSCO, the Chinese shipping company involved, was forced to give up the original plan to unload there and ship the cargo back China, due to Zimbabwe's inability to receive the goods.

    Jiang added the trade contract was signed last year and irrelevant to Zimbabwe's recent domestic situation.

    She said China always took a prudent and responsible attitude towards arms trade and strictly abided by the principle of non-interference with a receiving country's sovereignty, expressing her hope the countries concerned would not politicize the issue.

    Jiang stressed China exported much less weapons to other countries in comparison to some developed countries.

    According to the latest statistics by the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China ranked 10th on the list of the world's biggest arms exporters. The United States ranked first and the United Kingdom sixth.

    The statistics revealed the United States accounted for 30 percent of world arms trade volume while China was two percent.

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