April 28, 2005
CONTENTIOUS EMBARGO ON CHINA 'THREATENS TO STRAIN' EU-U.S. RELATIONS
** Citing human rights concerns, global dailies urge EU to "continue the sanctions."
** Lifting weapons ban risks damage to U.S.-EU relations and a "U.S. embargo on Europe."
** Critics claim Washington's position on China "remains very ambiguous."
Embargo 'must be maintained'-- Global opposition to lifting the embargo remained strong; Germany's centrist Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger criticized proponents of selling weapons to China for ignoring the anti-secession law and "the human rights situation in the region." Like-minded Euro dailies urged the EU not to ignore these "dark chapters" of China's policy and to "continue the sanctions!" Austria's independent Salzburger Nachrichten argued Germany is hoping to use China's influence to win a Security Council seat, adding that France and Germany are "once more trying to counterbalance the U.S. on the global stage." Euro papers generally agreed that if the embargo were lifted, the EU's "appearance of moral superiority" would prove "hollow to the core." Taiwan's pro-independence Taipei Times pleaded with the EU "not to lift" the embargo and urged it to "revise its code of conduct" in dealings with China.
Embargo disagreement puts 'future of EU-U.S. relations' at risk-- France's right-of-center Les Echos warned lifting the embargo could endanger trans-atlantic relations and "shatter Europe's joint defense policy." Euro papers suggested that Schroeder and Chirac were willing to "risk harming relations with the U.S." even though the embargo issue would damage relations "beyond the trade level." Britain's independent Financial Times cautioned that if the embargo were lifted, the U.S. might stop awarding defense contracts to the EU, which would be "a worst-case scenario for all." Conservative Euro outlets warned the consequences of lifting the embargo could be "enormous," because of "possible sanctions against European companies in the U.S. defense market." A Russian paper noted that U.S. sanctions on the EU would bring increased business to Russia's "military-industrial complex."
Embargo is used to 'advance' American interests-- Poland's leftist Warsaw Przeglad accused America of using the embargo to "show that it is still able to impose its will on others," noting the ban is not "strictly observed" even by the U.S. A Belgian paper asked why the U.S. never criticizes Russia, which is "China's main weapons supplier." Liberal Euro papers urged the U.S. to "engage Europe in a dialogue on China's future." More aggressive Euro papers claimed Washington was using the embargo to contain China, which it sees as "a future adversary." China's official Global Times claimed the U.S. is exploiting the anti-secession law and the "China military threat theory" to justify its support for maintaining the embargo. Other pro-PRC papers hoped the embargo would be lifted before the EU presidency rotates to the UK, when it will be "more difficult to lift the sanctions." A Chinese-language Malaysian paper proclaimed it is "only a matter of time" until the embargo is removed.
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR: David Meyers
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 31 reports from 16 countries over April 5 - 22, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Tiger In China"
An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph stated (4/15): "The rearmament of China, the deployment of hundreds of ballistic missiles on the Chinese coast and the passage last month of a Chinese law authorizing military action to stop Taiwan from declaring independence is pushing Japan out of its pacifist shell, and deeper into the military arms of the United States. It is not surprising that Japan, like America, should be aghast at the idea of the European Union lifting the arms embargo on China that was imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre."
"Dialogue Is Needed On Arms Sales To China"
Marta Dassu commented in the independent Financial Times (4/8): "The U.S. should engage Europe in a dialogue on China's future and, on the arms embargo, be ready to discuss a follow-up arrangement, based on more stringent rules on technology transfers. This is an opportunity to develop a trade-off between the EU's readiness to devise effective controls on dual-use technologies and the U.S.'s willingness to open up the trans-atlantic defense market. The opposite outcome--a quick end to the EU embargo and U.S. retaliation on defense technology transfers across the Atlantic--would be a worst-case scenario for all."
FRANCE: "France Taking Risks Over The Lifting Of The Chinese Arms Embargo"
Jean-Pierre Neu wrote in right-of-center Les Echos (4/14): “France's voice in favor of lifting the arms embargo is a new opportunity for Paris to make France's singular voice heard in its fight for a multipolar world. But Chirac’s position is raising eyebrows in Washington as well as in Europe. The lifting of the embargo, which remains very symbolic, can put in the balance the future of EU-U.S. relations and can shatter Europe's joint defense policy.... After Secretary Zoellick’s remarks in Brussels about endangering the transfer of technology...the risks for European defense industrialists who would love to piggyback on U.S. military programs are enormous.... Whatever Paris does, whether it brings Europe around to its Chinese views or whether it fails, it will not be paid back, not in China, Japan, Korea or the U.S.”
Jean-Christophe Ploquin noted in Catholic La Croix (4/7): “Lifting the China arms embargo was to be the symbol of an autonomous Europe vis-à-vis the U.S. on the international arena. The issue is turning into a major cacophony and the risk is growing of seeing the EU divided, as was the case during the saddest days of the war in Iraq. Europe's lifting of the China arms embargo could become the new trans-atlantic bone of contention… The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State could not have been more explicit when he warned about possible sanctions against European companies in the U.S. defense market… For Europe's most pragmatic businessmen it is not certain that a political rapprochement with China is worth the risk… France's diplomacy is particularly annoyed about this emerging new imbroglio. After having been able to convince President Bush, back in February, that lifting the embargo was innocuous, President Chirac is now facing a new and growing coalition of opponents, made up of Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium and Italy.... For Europe, the choice lies between irritating Washington and vexing Beijing. And ethics do not plead in favor of China.”
"Selling Arms To Beijing: Bush Threatens"
Alexandrine Bouilhet asserted in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/6): “The U.S., which is set on keeping the Europeans from lifting the Chinese arms embargo, increased its pressure yesterday on Brussels. For the first time Deputy Secretary Zoellick brandished the threat of economic reprisal. If Europe were to lift the embargo, as Paris and Berlin have said, ‘it would affect trans-atlantic cooperation in matters of defense’ said the Deputy Secretary. Washington's message has now been made clear. Until now only Congress had dared to speak of reprisal. Now it has become Washington's official line. For the Americans, this new strategy is supposed to bring about the Franco-German couple in its stubbornness. ‘Unless,’ says an American diplomat, ‘Paris and Berlin are ready to trigger a new trans-atlantic crisis.... Deputy Secretary Zoellick is using trade blackmail without any compunction, especially with European partners he has already confronted in the Airbus-Boeing conflict. His threats are being taken seriously by the defense industry.... In fact, similar threats have already born fruit: London has already stepped away from the Franco-German tandem...and European defense industry captains are calling on the EU to get along with Washington on this issue. EADS executive Manfred Bischoff contends the group’s trade relations should not be endangered, considering that trade with the U.S. is much greater than with China.”
GERMANY: "Schroeder Believes China Can Help Germany Achieve Permanent UNSC Seat"
Ursula Welter commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (4/15): "As serious as the chancellor presented his arguments, he was able to give them little moral weight. And that is why we can call it careless that Schroeder has sided with France to achieve the lifting of the arms embargo.... Why is Schroeder backing up France? Short-term trade advantages certainly do not play a role, because China has been able to buy everything in Europe it needed to modernize its army despite the embargo.... But now really sensitive technology is involved, and then the affair is getting delicate. Domestic damage is great and his foreign minister had to wiggle, was able to speak about skepticism, but was not allowed to stab his chief in the back.... That is why the strangest alliances are forming: A Greens chairwoman, who argues side by side with the U.S. administration, and an SPD chancellor, whose trade strategy hardly differs from the one of the Kohl government.... Why did Schroeder ignore all objections?.... The chancellor's calculation is understandable that China can help Germany achieve a permanent UNSC seat. But it is not a wise policy to create a trans-atlantic rift, a rift within the SPD and a rift with the coalition partner."
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin contended (4/15): "Someone recently said about the China policy of the West that those who want to ride the dragon, must really be firm in his saddle. We still remember the odd mental acrobatics of former governments, ranging from former foreign minister Kinkel who refused to accept a scarf from the Dalai Lama to ex-chancellor Kohl who visited bases of the Chinese People's Army. Nothing should be transfigured in hindsight. But the acting government added one more dimension to these mental acrobatics. The chancellor is the only one who raises his banner, saying: 'The arms embargo on China must go.' He was alone in circus tent, and did this under the boohs of the opposition and the Greens and under the embarrassing reaction of his own followers. In the meantime, Joschka Fischer, the magician, performs the feat of the sawn up virgin. There is only a slight change. He is sawing himself up, into a foreign minister who dutifully looks for ways and means to produce a consensus in the EU to lift the embargo and into Joschka Fischer, who likes the foreign minister not to find a way out. What a circus."
"Chancellor Makes No Allowances For Human Rights, Anti-Secession Law"
Centrist Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger of Cologne said (4/15): "The chancellor makes no allowances for the most recent security policy development in East Asia, like, for instance, the anti-secession law that is directed against Taiwan. And we cannot speak of an improvement of the human rights situation in the region either. For the coalition, the conflict over the arms embargo could turn out to be a gain. Since decisions at the European level are not to be made soon, the Greens have again a chance to distinguish themselves without them being forced to decide between their principles and the loyalty to the SPD. Only Foreign Minster Fischer has to wiggle. With his European colleagues, Fischer 'examines' the criteria for lifting the embargo. This can take many months as the case of the Hanau nuclear reprocessing plant demonstrated."
"Change Without Trading Weapons"
Harald Maass commented in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/14): "Chancellor Schroeder's and President Chirac's mistake is that they mix up the social improvement and the human rights situation in China. Despite many EU human rights seminars, the state-organized oppression has not changed. Beijing's Communist leadership still deports students and human rights activists to labor camps for publishing essays on the Internet. They torture Tibetan monks and nuns, who are faithful to the Dalai Lama. Nowhere in the world are so many people executed like in China. The opponents of the embargo ignore these dark chapters. For them, realpolitik counts, which means that China is a superpower with growing political and economic importance."
Stefan Kornelius judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/7): "Those who are planning to lift the arms embargo on China, must be aware of the following consequences: In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is risking a genuine clash in the coalition government and at the same time he will damage Germany's foreign policy credibility.... In Europe, and this is the greater danger, a division is looming like during the Iraq war because of a comparably unimportant reason.... But U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick outlined the real dimension of the problem: Those who lift the embargo are risking a U.S. embargo on Europe...and China's friends in Europe are ignoring the storm that is brewing in Washington. No, at issue are not only an arms or a symbolic embargo, at issue is geo-strategic considerations in the Pacific Basin, at issue is uni- and multipolarity, at issue is the long and short-term effect of foreign policy decisions and, in the case of Schroeder, the issue is a counter deal: an end of the embargo in exchange for Chinese assistance for the project of a permanent German UNSC seat. This mix of motives is evidence of a totally chaotic China policy. But it would be possible to make a virtue out of a necessity. Those who think in long-term strategies and know about the U.S. inability to softly influence dangerous rivals (Islam as an enemy image is only one example) could now lay the foundation for constructive cooperation of the United States and Europe with China. With soft pressure, Beijing must be convinced that it should not use its size and its growing strength in an aggressive way and that economic power cannot be achieved at any cost. For Europe and the United States it would be wiser to influence China together and successfully instead of minimizing this influence by each one going his own way."
"Continue The Sanctions!"
Center-right Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung editorialized (4/6): "The human rights situation in China has not fundamentally improved since the massacre at the Tiananmen Square in 1989. Today's Communist leadership still believes that the shootings and the arrests were correct. This shows in a very drastic way whose child it is. The EU would send a false signal if it morally upgraded such a regime by lifting the weapons embargo. It is also important that this would again seriously strain relations with the U.S., which were just painstakingly repaired. Washington is less concerned over human rights in China than over the transfer of technology and Beijing's threats of war against Taiwan, but the result should be the same: Continue the sanctions!"
"Will Germany And The EU Stick To Their Policy Of Human Rights"
Centrist Neue Presse of Hanover speculated (4/6): "Will Germany and the EU stick to their international policy of human rights or will they rather seek the role of a mediator in the upcoming rivalry between the superpowers of the United States and China? The Chancellor wants the latter. The Foreign Minister is undecided because he does not want an escalation of the dispute. Both will not struggle to cover up the conflict with a compromise, because an escalation would pose unpredictable risks to both of them. The Greens must not let the coalition of the SPD and Greens fail because of a marginal question and the Chancellor is not even supported by his own party."
ITALY: "Zoellick Attacks The Brit Mandelson: Lamy Better”
Ennio Caretto argued in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/7): “China...threatens to strain again trans-Atlantic relations and not only at the trade level: the EU intends to resume furnishing weapons to China, by lifting the 1989 embargo, despite American opposition; and the EU refuses to abolish subsidies unless the Bush Administration does the same with Boeing.... At the end of his trip to Brussels, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick warned that Congress could adopt measures against Europe regarding China.... Zoellick accused the EU of wanting to abolish indirect subsidies to Airbus and Boeing, one of the pillars of U.S. military industry.... Zoellick’s attack hides political, economic and personal reasons. The Bush Administration undoubtedly sees China as a future adversary. The Pentagon, the world's top public subsidizer, does not accept limitations on its orders to the military industry's establishment.”
"Arms To China: U.S. Strongly Admonishes EU"
Adriana Cerretelli held in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (4/6): “The future of EU-U.S. relations is at stake over the lifting of the embargo on arms sales to China. The postponement of the decision is not enough: it must be canceled. Robert Zoellick used the softer language of diplomacy to issue the warning yesterday in Brussels. ‘In relations with China, Europe essentially thinks about economic-commercial relations. There is nothing wrong with this. But we must also consider the security aspect, that does not only concern us, but Japan, Australia and various Asian countries as well,’ said the State Departments number-two man. Conclusion: Europe, which is trying to become a global protagonist, must ‘beware not to take counter-productive steps.’ European-U.S. dialogue is not living one of its better moments in commercial relations. The Airbus-Boeing dispute...is still in full swing, even though yesterday, following Zoellick’s visit, the European Commission said it was willing to ‘resume negotiations’ that were abruptly interrupted in March.”
RUSSIA: "Lifting of Embargo Could Further Isolate 'Old Europe'"
Artur Blinov wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (4/5): “U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, much to the joy of Russia's military-industrial complex, has cautioned EU countries against lifting an arms embargo on China. To do so would be a rash move, according to the Americans. Zoellick’s statement is a comment of sorts on reports that French President Jacques Chirac, talking to China's Hu Jintao on the telephone, confirmed his country's intention to have the embargo lifted.... The threat to cut European arms manufacturers off from America's technological achievements aims to further isolate ‘old Europe.’ European weaponry lags technologically so far behind America's that planning joint operations within NATO has become senseless. Besides, violating the embargo is fraught with the danger of having no chance to invest in the United States’ defense industry.”
AUSTRIA: "Foreign Policy Without Compass"
Senior editor Helmut L. Mueller commented in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (4/15): "One can only conclude that German Chancellor Schroeder wants to put the Chinese in the mood for granting German companies commissions in the booming giant empire. First, Schroeder has wooed Russia's autocrat Putin, then he shows himself to be the darling of the despots in Beijing: Apparently he puts economic interest before moral consideration. At the same time, Schroeder is trying to enlist Beijing's and Moscow's support in his attempt to gain Germany a permanent seat in the Security Council. By advocating the lifting of the EU weapons embargo, he also takes French interests into consideration, for the French are planning large-scale weapons exports to China. In return, Paris is to help Germany step onto the global stage in New York. Schroeder is willing to risk harming relations with the U.S. Washington abhors the idea that Beijing could one day use European technology in the Taiwan conflict. However, this does not bother the German Chancellor - he conducts foreign policy without a compass. By relying on China and Russia alone, Schroeder gives the impression that he, together with his French colleague Chirac, is once more trying to counterbalance the U.S. on the global stage."
"Exports Before Morality"
Christian Ortner analyzed in centrist Die Presse (4/11): “If the European Union, pressured by the two leading powers France and Germany, were to allow exports of military equipment to Beijing, this would demonstrate above all one thing: That the appearance of moral superiority which Chirac and Schroeder have assumed versus the United States in the two years since the beginning of the Iraq war is hollow to the core.... For this reason, the Americans are now once again completely fed up with the Europeans. Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos, for instance, called for sanctions against the Europeans, on the grounds that he wanted to prevent Europe from ‘delivering China the technology which, one day, it might use to kill our soldiers.” However, this has so far failed to impress Schroeder and Chirac – which means that chances are good that the EU will persist in its old, bad attitude versus China. We are ready to do business with all sorts of dictators, and if there are problems, we can always call the Americans.”
BELGIUM: "Embargo No Longer Relevant"
Joseph Henrotin pointed out in Independent La Libre Belgique (4/15): "Washington's position remains very ambiguous. Although it threatens Europe with economic sanctions if it lifts the arms embargo, the United States never criticizes Russia, although the latter remains China's main weapon supplier.... At the same time, for the Europeans, isn't the lifting of the embargo a dossier that enables them to distance themselves from Washington while acquiring an identity based on some anti-Americanism?”
IRELAND: "MEPs Want China Arms Ban To Stay"
Derek Scally opined in the center-left Irish Times (4/15): “The European Parliament has called on the European Union not to abandon its arms embargo on China and has criticized Beijing's threats against Taiwan as well as its human rights record.... Germany and France are the principal advocates of lifting the embargo, which was imposed after the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in China were crushed by the Chinese government. The United States opposes lifting the ban, saying that it would be a poor political move which could have security implications for U.S. troops in Asia. Now the pressure is building in Europe. The European Parliament vote was passed in Strasbourg yesterday with large numbers of Social Democrat votes.... The embargo has put Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Fischer at odds with their own parliamentary parties.... Opposition leaders attacked Mr. Schroeder for engaging in opportunistic politics which did not serve Germany's economic or political interests.”
LUXEMBOURG: "The Embargo Issue"
Guy Kemp observed in socialist Tageblatt (4/20): “The European Union goes back and forth without finding the right tone to best sell the lift of China arms embargo to skeptics and critics. On both sides of a divided Europe, the debate goes on with a certain amount of hypocrisy. Last December, the 25 EU heads of state and government mandated that the Luxembourg Presidency to finalize the ongoing work to make the decision feasible. This decision was taken not only by those in favor of lifting the ban – French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder – but also by those leaders that are now opposed to it. Was it realistic to expect that, sometime between January 1st and the end of the Luxembourg Presidency, complaints on human rights violations and the number of executions (more than 3000 last year) would dwindle away.... There was no reason for the hurry in which the 25 heads of states and governments wanted the sanctions to be set aside. At least not before China would have resolved the issues that caused the establishment of an embargo."
POLAND: "The Cumbersome Ban; Against Bush, EU Wants The Embargo On Arms Lifted"
Adam Pawel Olechowski wrote in leftist Warsaw Przeglad (4/10): "It should be added that, as a matter of fact, the embargo was not strictly observed, not even by the United States itself, which already in 2002 annulled the ban on selling modern information technologies to China. As is known, these technologies are the main components of many contemporary armament systems. What is it, then, that the Americans may want to achieve by insisting that the embargo stay in place? The issue is, as per usual, primarily about the good of the United States. As opinions are voiced about the end of U.S. hegemony, they want to show the world that it is still able to impose its will on others, which has been gaining more and more weight on the global political and economic scene lately. Imposing this will may considerably slow down the dynamic development of EU-Chinese trading relations. This, in turn, may have a negative effect on the economies of both the EU and China, which are increasingly often regarded as serious threats to the dominant position of the U.S.... The aforementioned facts clearly demonstrate the pointlessness and fictitiousness of the embargo which the present U.S. Administration is trying so hard to keep in place. Politicians in leading EU countries understand the pointlessness of preserving this fiction, so detrimental in proper commercial relations. Therefore, in the immediate future the EU will most probably lift the embargo on selling armaments to China. This does not mean, though, that the Chinese Armed Forces will start using Leopards 2A6 or Leclercs. That is because its own industry may supply needed hardware and armaments to them. On top of that, there is a long way from lifting the embargo to selling specific types of armaments. The EU has fairly strict regulations that govern such trade. Thus, lifting the embargo will be primarily a political gesture. It will demonstrate, among others, that the EU may oppose U.S. dictate and pursue its own policy on the global arena. This gesture will also greatly facilitate its commercial and political relations with China."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Condoleezza Rice: Her Aim Is To Contain China"
Xu Qingduo commented in China Radio International-sponsored official World News Journal (4/22): “In two months it will be the UK’s turn to preside at EU president. As such, the next two months are critical regarding the lifting of the arms embargo against China. During this time, the U.S. is sure to continue its pressure on EU leaders on the arms embargo question. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice doesn't spare any effort on opposing lifting the sanction. She will talk about the importance of maintaining the sanction with anybody she meets. Analysts think this is a part of the U.S. foreign policy that wants to contain China. The U.S. setting up military bases in Central Asia is another manifestation of the ‘contain China’ policy. Some American conservatives think it is better to bind China's hands and legs before it grows into a huge dragon. According to American officials, the U.S. must keep the leading position for 30 years at ‘critical military fields having strategic meaning.’ This is also why Rice so actively opposes EU lifting arms embargo against China.”
"EU Countries Have Conflicting Opinions On Lifting Arms Embargo"
Yao Li asserted in official international Global Times (4/18): “The U.S. and Europe are using China's anti-secession law as an excuse to oppose the lifting of the arms embargo against China. They claimed China is using the law to stir up the world opinion and tried to push the responsibilities of the failure of the lifting on the issuance of the law. According to them, the law will increase mainland China's threat to Taiwan. France, Germany and others who support lifting the arms embargo have faced unprecedented pressure. For the next half of the year, the UK will be the rotating host country of the EU and it will be more difficult to lift the sanctions.”
"The U.S. Center For Strategic And International Studies Maliciously Exaggerates China's Military Strength."
Weng Tiancheng commented in official international Global Times (4/15): “Derek Mitchell, senior researcher at the center, said the report on China's military strength was created by the Bureau of Defense Information, which is affiliated with the Department of Defense. Mitchell expressed the report did not exaggerate China's military strength and it is a normal evaluation by taking it a potential threat. The report's influence is extensive and multiple. First, it influences the U.S. Congress, which further encourages China containment legislation. Second, the various arms of the services exaggerate China's military strength for their own interests. James Lilly, the former U.S. Ambassador to China, said it is for its own interests that the evaluation report has included many twisted facts. Third, exaggeration is also used for opposing EU’s lifting arms embargo against China. Finally, the U.S. is preparing for arms sales to Taiwan. The Pentagon is deliberately intensifying 'China military threat theory.'"
"U.S. Does Not Want EU's Influence To Expand Towards Asia"
Official Zhongguo Guofang Bao argued (4/14): The U.S. is worried that the influence of Europe will expand further towards Asia through the lifting of the arms embargo on China, which will form a serious impact on the strategic goal pursued by the U.S. of a unipolar world under U.S. leadership.... If the EU's influence expands further towards Asia, this will also form an impact on and challenge to Japan's influence in Asia. Consequently on the issue of blocking the EU entering Asia, the U.S. has one more pawn, Japan."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Breaking Through The U.S., Japan Encirclement Strategy Against China"
Chinese-language, pro-PRC Wen Wei Po noted (4/15): "On Wednesday, the European Parliament passed a resolution not to lift the EU's ban on arms sales to China. As a product of the Cold War, the ban on arms sales to China has been the sticking point affecting the development of China-EU relations, and now once again has become a political chip in the pressure on China by the U.S., Japan, and other such Western forces. This not only highlights the containment policy against China by the U.S. and Japan, it also reflects the fact that the international climate for China's peaceful development following the Cold War is still extremely complex. China must have sufficient wisdom and patience to lie low and bide its time, doing whatever it can and coordinating the rapid upgrading of its overall national strength, as only then will it be possible to break through the encirclement by the United States, Japan, and other such Western forces. The embargo against China by the West, led by the U.S., with regard to advanced science and technology and weapons has never let up since the birth of the new China. The EU ban on sales of arms to China was instituted after 1989, and the reason that there have been delays in lifting it have to do with internal factors in the EU. The EU is made up of 25 countries, and there are differences among various EU countries--and even among different political parties within some countries--with regard to lifting the ban on the sale of arms to China. France, Germany, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and other such countries have a positive attitude, but, owing to human rights ideology or their pro-America positions, some countries of northern and eastern Europe have a negative attitude. Based on the EU's 'single veto' mechanism, just so long as any member country is opposed, it will be difficult to get the ban on arms sales to China lifted."
TAIWAN: "International Community Can See Through China's Real Intention In Enacting The 'Anti-Secession Law'"
Pro-independence Taiwan Daily editorialized (4/16): "The U.S. decision-making officials’ remarks and the European Parliament's decision [not to lift its arms embargo to China] have all proved that China has failed in its attempt to clarify to the international community regarding its passage of the ‘Anti-Secession Law,’ which was merely a move to cover up for its intention to annex Taiwan. Even Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao’s remarks at China's National People's Congress in early March that their ‘determination to place hope in Taiwan's people would remain unchanged’ could not cover up the fact that the passage of the Anti-Secession Law was an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo, to stir up the cross-Strait situation, to trigger tensions, and to challenge the United States’ determination to maintain peace in the Asia-Pacific region. It is a real pity that even the United States, Japan and EU can see clearly China's real intentions in passing the Anti-Secession Law, but the Pan-Blue Camp are still vying to visit China. Isn't the Pan-Blue Camp's move another way of endorsing China's ‘Anti-Secession Law?"
"EU Arms Embargo Must Be Maintained"
Yang San-yi opined in the English-language, pro-independence Taipei Times (4/12): "Consequently, it is crucial to ask the EU not to lift the arms embargo and encourage Brussels to come up with a more comprehensive policy framework that engages China. First, the EU should revise its code of conduct concerning arms sales. It should lay more emphasis on human rights and democracy in China and other countries. Until recently, the four countries under the EU's arms embargo were China, Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe--all notorious for their strict controls on freedom of expression and other abuses of political power. Second, the arms embargo is important in as much as military modernization will tilt the region's balance in China's favor. The international community should urge Brussels to construct transparent methods for arms sales, so that EU members and other concerned countries have the opportunity to object to a potential sale to China or other non-democratic countries. Third the EU should respect Taiwan's independence and support further democratic development in Taiwan. The EU's announcement on regional stability is a necessary buttress for Taiwan's independence; without a stable environment Taipei may fail in achieving a true democratic process."
JAPAN: "EU Remains Cautious About Lifting Ban On Arms Trade With China"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai said (4/6): "Ministers of European nations visiting Tokyo this week expressed negative views about the EU's planned cancellation of its arms trade embargo on China. Trade Minister Krecke of Luxembourg, the current chair country of the European Union, said that it would be difficult for the EU to lift its trade ban against China by the end of June. Swedish Industry Minister Ostros stated that his nation would not export weapons to China regardless of future decisions by the union. Their statements seem to reflect a growing skepticism among EU members about the planned termination's possible negative impact on the already tense relations between China and Taiwan. EU nations might further lean toward the cancellation of the lifting after the UK, one of the most cautious nations among EU members, assumes the presidency of the Union in June. Luxembourg Minister Krecke expressed reservations about initiatives by France and Germany to lift the embargo, saying unanimous approval of all 25 EU members is necessary to cancel the restriction. He added that winning an absolute vote in the EU appears difficult. The Swedish minister said his nation would not follow Paris or Berlin, stressing that Stockholm will not sell arms to a nation that infringes on human rights."
MALAYSIA: "Decision To Postpone Arms Sale to China Temporary Measure Of EU"
Chinese language, Sarawak-based International Times carried a commentary by Fung Chong stating (4/18): "The decision of EU on 13 April to postpone arms sale to China can only be viewed as a temporary measure taken by EU nations in response to pressure from Washington. EU leaders from France, Germany and Belgium hold the opinion that it does not make good sense to impose the outdated arms sale embargo on China as it is only a symbolic political decision. In addition, lifting the arms sale embargo against China does not necessarily mean that China would want to acquire weapons from EU in large amounts or that either France or Germany would want to sell their sophisticated weapons to China. These countries have reason to believe that there is no need for Washington to oppose the EU decision. After all, Washington's China threat theory is still only a theory about an emerging China that could threaten Asia. We believe it is only a matter of time before the EU withdraws its arms sale embargo against China. When a full fledged EU-China strategic partnership status is the direction for EU to take, imposing an arms sale embargo would only be interpreted as prejudiced treatment since the EU and China are in fact striving for closer cooperation in their overall strategic partnership plan."
PHILIPPINES: "China And Europe"
Beth Day Romulo wrote in the conservative Manila Bulletin (4/5): “Despite serious concerns about regional security voiced by the U.S. against Europeans plan to lift the arms embargo against China, it looked up until last week as though the Europeans were more interested in good trade relations with the Asian giant, than Asia's security concerns. The arms embargo was expected to be lifted soon. Last minute pleas from Secretary of State Rice seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Then China passed its ‘anti-secession law’ which threatens military action against Taiwan if Taiwan pursues its goal of independence from the mainland. Apparently the Chinese officials who framed the law assumed there might be some bad feedback from the U.S., which is committed to support Taiwan if military force is used against it, but did not think this was a European concern.... That assumption proved incorrect. Europe as well as the U.S. is sensitive to Taiwan/China policy. And the plans to lift the arms embargo, which was imposed after China's crackdown on student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989, have now been indefinitely postponed.... Several Chinese ‘experts’...seemed to agree the timing was wrong. If the Chinese legislature had simply discussed the possibility of a new law, rather than enacted one, the damage might have been averted.”
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