South African Government Information regarding the Order for Chinese Jet Fighters by Zimbabwe

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO 253

PUBLISHED IN THE INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 5 OF 18 JUNE 2004

MR LK JOUBERT TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

Whether the Government has been in contact with the governments of Zimbabwe and China regarding Zimbabwe's order for jet fighters to the value of more than $200m from China; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? N288E

UNQUOTE

REPLY

The Government has had no information from the governments of Zimbabwe and China regarding Zimbabwe's order for jet fighters to the value of more than $200 million from China.

The position in this regard is that this is a bilateral matter between Zimbabwe and China.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  1. The relevant details are that the Daily Mirror of Zimbabwe published on 20040609 reported that the Zimbabwe Defence Force has purchased 12 military aircraft and 100 vehicles from China, and plans were underway to acquire an undisclosed number of fighter jets.
  2. This announcement was made by the Permanent Secretary for Defence when he presented the first quarter budget report before the Parliamentary Committee of Defence and Home Affairs. The Permanent Secretary did not disclose the financial implications of the transaction. He said that the commander of the Air Force would be able to provide this information.
  3. Meanwhile in Pretoria, the Chinese Ambassador at a press conference was asked whether China intended selling jet fighter planes to Zimbabwe. The Ambassador responded by saying that there was no truth to this story and that China has demanded an apology from the Harare newspaper which first published the story. He further said that China has a responsible policy towards Africa and would not contribute to arms proliferation.


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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa