Chinese Weapons Ship To Head Home?

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A series of updates to my earlier post about the plight of the An Yue Jiang, a Chinese cargo vessel currently searching for a suitable African port to offload a shipment of bullets, rockets, and mortars bound for Zimbabwe:

  • Der Spiegel reports that the ship’s captain made haste to leave the port of Durban in South Africa last week, in part, because a court order had been issued that would have allowed Germany’s state development bank, KfW, to seize the shipment in recovery of unpaid debts owed by Robert Mugabe’s government.
  • The Associated Press says that U.S. intelligence agencies are tracking the ship and that American diplomats have requested the governments of South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and Angola to turn the ship away. A senior State Department diplomat has been dispatched to Africa to underscore U.S. concern.
  • Agence France-Presse quotes a shipping agent as saying that the An Yue Jiang is now heading for Luanda, Angola. But the BBC and the Associated Press report that the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the cargo ship’s owners are considering recalling the vessel and canceling the delivery.
  • Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is calling for U.N. intervention to stem the gathering post-election violence in his country, where Mugabe’s military is “terrorizing the people.”
  • UPDATE (1:00pm, EST): McClatchy says the ship is headed back to China.

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