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China providing arms to Cuba, official says

Associated Press June 12, 2001 10:25:00

WASHINGTON - China has been transferring military equipment to Cuba, a top State Department official said today, acknowledging that the deliveries are a matter of administration concern.

James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, confirmed the activities in response to a question during a hearing of a House International Relations subcommittee.

"We are very much concerned with this PLA (People's Liberation Army) cooperation and movement of military equipment in Cuba," Kelly said.

Kelly offered no other details and said he needed more information before commenting further.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked Kelly about the China-Cuba military link, basing his question on a report in the Washington Times, which said China was shipping arms and explosives to Cuba.

Later, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker had no comment on the report except to say the administration "has not made a determination that China has transferred lethal military equipment to Cuba."

Under a 1996 amendment, economic sanctions must be imposed against any country that provides lethal equipment to a country on the State Department list of countries alleged to sponsor international terrorism.

Cuba has been on the terrorism list for years. One official said he did not know what the consequences of the law would be for China if it were found to be in violation. He did not know, for example, whether such a finding would require the United States to withhold support for Chinese loan requests in the World Bank.

The Washington Times said three arms shipments have been sent from China to the Cuban port of Mariel in the last several months.

All the arms were aboard vessels belonging to the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Co., the account said, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

The Times was told that a "known Chinese arms dealer" arranged the transfers.

Asked by Rohrabacher whether the Bush administration would "grovel" in the face of the alleged Chinese action, Kelly said it would not.

Cuba and China have been forging closer ties in the recent past, symbolized by the April visit to Havana by Chinese President Jiang Zemin. At the time, Chinese officials said the relationship had never been better. The two countries were not close during the Cold War.

Last December, Cuba and China signed an agreement to increase military cooperation but no specifics were announced.

The agreement was signed by Gen. Fu Quanyou, a top general for the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and Gen. Alvaro Lopez, a deputy minister of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 12, 2001


This can only make you ponder, what do the Cubans have in mind?

-- LillyLP (, June 13, 2001.

To those who are over 50 years of age, this brings a VERY intense sense of DEJA VU - Here Comes The End Of The World. The intense confrontation over Russian arms in Cuba in 1962 is still the closest the world has ever come to (non-accidental) All Out Thermo-Nuclear Holocaust.

-- Robert Riggs (, June 13, 2001.

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