The Washington Post writes about the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to send a military engineering unit to help strengthen the overtaxed African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur:
In recent weeks, the Darfur crisis has become particularly sensitive in China because of suggestions in the United States and Europe that people should boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics to demonstrate opposition to Chinese policies in Sudan. China, which has deep economic and military ties there, has been widely criticized for failing to bring strong pressure on the government to persuade it to accept a large force of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.
The ties include large oil purchases and extensive arms sales, which the human rights group Amnesty International charged recently have been continuing despite U.N. calls for an embargo. Jiang, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, declined to respond to questions about the Amnesty charges. But she said China’s arms sales to Sudan are strictly controlled, include only conventional weapons and do not violate U.N. regulations.
What implications for a Chinese military presence in Africa?