A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that a Chinese ship headed to Cuba had been carrying “normal military supplies” when it was stopped by Colombian officials.
“As far as I know, the ship carries normal military supplies exported from China to Cuba, and no sensitive substances are involved,” Hua Chunying told a press conference.
“Relevant cooperation does not violate Chinese laws and regulations, nor contravene the international obligations China undertakes,” she said. “This is normal cooperation in military trade.”
The ministry’s comments come a day after Colombian authorities uncovered large amounts of armaments in a ship detained since Sunday in the northern coastal city of Cartagena.
Luis Gonzalez, director of the Colombian attorney general’s office, said the Da Dan Xia’s captain Hu Wong had been detained, and charged with the illegal transportation of 2 million detonators, 3,000 artillery shells, 99 missiles and 100 tons of gunpowder.
The material in question was hidden in bags of grain in 14 of the ship’s containers.
The ship’s paperwork showed that the boat’s final destination was Cuba and it was supposedly carrying pipes for use in the construction of a refinery.
“China is in communication with the Colombian side on this matter,” Hua said Wednesday. “We will provide necessary assistance to Chinese citizens involved in this and safeguard their rights and interests in accordance with the law.”
In 2013, a similar Chinese boat was detained in Panama while attempting to smuggle undeclared weaponry bound for Cuba (Anadolu Agency)