Perhaps the most visible controversy over China's surging role came last April, when a Chinese ship bearing small arms for Zimbabwe was refused entry to South African ports. The cargo list included ammunition for AK-47 assault rifles, 1,500 40mm rockets, and 2,500 60mm and 81mm mortar shells.. "China received a black eye on this one," said David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia. "Chinese military equipment is popular in Africa because it is usually much cheaper than Western counterpart equipment."And later on:
"China has far more peacekeepers in Africa than any other permanent member of the U.N. Security Council," said Shinn, an Africa affairs specialist with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, Washington. "By comparison, the U.S. had 42 military personnel assigned to U.N. peacekeeping operations in Africa as of November 2008." ..."China has a long history of providing military assistance, selling arms and offering military training to African countries" going back to the 1960s, Shinn said. "In recent years, Chinese arms sales and grants have been higher than those of the U.S." to Africa.