Chinese Weapons Fuel African Conflicts, Despite Sanctions

While U.S. and European officials try to gain leverage with China to uphold U.N. weapon sanctions, Chinese weapons continue to fuel African conflicts.

What’s the Latest Development?

War torn areas of Africa continue to be flooded by weapons despite U.N. sanctions. “The United Nations enforces arms embargoes against 13 countries or groups, including the Taliban, al-Qaeda and seven African countries.” Over the last decade, more and more weapons of Chinese origin have been found in African warzones. Despite scrutiny by U.N. investigators, the Chinese government continues to curtail investigations and, unlike other U.N. members, has outright refused to cooperate with arms experts. With the hope of gaining China’s trust, the U.N. and other member countries have allowed China a greater range of freedom in controlling its sanctions. As a result, China has increased weapon sales in Africa to become the sixth largest weapons importer in the world.

What’s the Big Idea?

China continues to be difficult to work with, thwarting investigations and increasing its weapon production, but there has been some positive movement for U.S. and European officials, who say that “despite Chinese reticence, they have been able to leverage U.N. sanctions, particularly in places like Iran and North Korea, to reinforce U.S. and European sanctions.” These smalls steps help move China in the right direction, but are a far cry from handling the influx of Chinese weapons in Africa.

Photo Credit: Matej Hudovernik /

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