US seeks more from China on Libya arms

The United States indicated Wednesday it is not satisfied with China's explanation of a meeting in July between Chinese weapons makers and representatives of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi seeking to buy arms in violation of U.N. sanctions.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that the Obama administration "will look to China to continue to explain and clarify its understanding of what did and didn't transpire."
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu on Tuesday repeated China's stance that no contracts were signed and no arms were delivered, although the meetings apparently did result in invoices being issued that listed prices for weapons from pistols to rocket launchers.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously in late February to impose an arms embargo on Libya and an asset freeze and travel ban on Gadhafi's family and regime leaders in an attempt to end the Libyan leader's bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters. China is a permanent council member with veto power.
Jiang said "China will continue to strictly implement the U.N. resolution and will further strengthen management over military exports."
The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported last week that Gadhafi's officials negotiated to buy weapons and ammunition from three Chinese arms makers. It based the report on discarded Libyan government documents that opposition sources believe are authentic.
There is no indication that the Chinese government played a role in the contacts with the weapons makers. China says the meetings were the acts of individuals at the Chinese companies and took place behind the government's back. Jiang indicated an investigation could follow.
Rice said the U.S. government has seen the press reports and the statements by the Chinese government.
"Obviously, we have a strong stake as do all members of the Security Council and all members of the United Nations in the effective and full enforcement of the ... (sanctions) regime, and including in that especially the arms embargo," she said.
Rice said the United States will work with China, and through the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Libya, "to ensure that the arms embargo is fully respected."
The Libyan opposition, which has ousted Gadhafi from power, says there is evidence that Chinese companies shipped weapons through Algeria to Gadhafi's forces after the outbreak of the uprising in violation of the U.N. embargo.
Chinese companies were major investors in Libyan infrastructure prior to the outbreak of the conflict in mid-February. While Beijing belatedly opened up contacts with the opposition, China has yet to recognize the National Transitional Council as Libya's legitimate government.