State-controlled Chinese arms companies were ready to sell weapons and ammunition worth at least $200 million to Qaddafi in late July, despite UN sanctions, the Canadian daily said, citing secret documents it had obtained.
The documents were discovered in a pile of trash sitting at the curb in a neighborhood known as Bab Akkarah, where several of Colonel Qaddafi’s most loyal supporters had homes.
They showed that Qaddafi’s top security aides made a trip to Beijing in mid-July, where they met with officials from China North Industries Corp.; the China National Precision Machinery Import & Export Corp.; and China XinXing Import & Export Corp.
The Chinese companies offered the entire contents of their stockpiles for sale, and promised to manufacture more supplies if necessary.
The hosts thanked the Libyans for their discretion, emphasized the need for confidentiality, and recommended delivery via third parties, it added.
The Chinese companies also noted that many of the items the Libyan team requested were already held in the arsenals of the Algerian military and could be transported immediately across the border, The Globe and Mail said.
Appendices stapled to the main memo show that the parties discussed truck-mounted rocket launchers, fuel-air explosive missiles and anti-tank missiles, among others items, the report said.
The Chinese apparently also offered Qaddafi’s men the QW-18, a surface-to-air missile, which is roughly similar to a US Stinger and is capable of bringing down military aircraft, the paper said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that Gaddafi representatives visited in July in a bid to buy arms, although it insisted that no contracts were signed and no weapons were shipped. A spokesman said China strictly adheres to a United Nations ban on supplying arms to the Gaddafi regime.
"Chinese companies have not provided military products to Libya in any direct or indirect form," she said.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said China will recognise Libya's National Transitional Council as the legitimate government “when conditions are ripe”, without specifying what those conditions would be.
China has not joined Western powers in formally recognising the NTC as the legitimate authority in Libya, but has acknowledged its “important role” after Muammar Qaddafi's ousting as the rebels swept into Tripoli last month.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China had been in close contact with the NTC and supports its role in Libya. “Our lines of communication with the NTC are smooth,” she told a regular news briefing.
Jiang added that China would also step up its controls over arms exports.