Receiving Azerbaijani ambassador Tamerlan Garaev in Beijing, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yingfan described the recent Chinese sale of eight Typhoon multiple-launcher missile systems to Armenia (see the Monitor, May 11) as “a regrettable but fortuitous incident.” Wang also notified the Azerbaijani ambassador that the Chinese military instructors, who were to have installed the missiles and trained the Armenian military to use them, had been recalled. Wang offered assurances that there would be no recurrence of sales of Chinese weaponry to Armenia.
Wang claimed that the sale of the Typhoons to Armenia had been a private business affair by a Chinese company, not authorized by the government–a weak argument, because the military instructors could hardly have acted on their own initiative even if the selling company did. The Chinese side stopped short of promising to recall the eight Typhoon installations, four of which are reported to have been deployed in Armenia proper and another four in Karabakh.
On May 17, Azerbaijan had officially asked China for explanations on the matter and had demanded the return of the missiles to China. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry reaffirmed that demand in its response to Wang’s explanations (AzadInform, June 4).
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