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Old 12-04-2004, 06:26 AM   #1
Dreamer128
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03.12.2004 - 17:46 CET | By Andrew Beatty

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Pressure is mounting on the EU to end a 15-year old arms embargo against China, with Beijing warning relations may be damaged if no action is taken.

Ahead of an EU-China summit next week Chinese diplomats have warned that a decision not to lift the embargo could have consequences for future ties.

Wang Shaoxin, a spokesman at the Chinese Mission to the EU said: "If the arms embargo is not lifted ... this will not be beneficial to sound development of future cooperation", he told EUobserver.

This issue of lifting the 15-year old ban on arms sales - put in place following the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 Ė has been on the EUís agenda for months, with no agreement so far.

Some member states - in particularly the UK and the Netherlands - remain cautious about lifting the ban.

But this renewed pressure could make it more difficult for individual states to openly oppose lifting the ban for fear of being singled out.

Quid pro quo

And Beijing is offering carrots as well as sticks.

To try and entice the sceptics China has hinted it may be ready to ratify a UN covenant on civil and political freedoms, a long time EU demand.

"We are making great efforts to speed up this process", said Mr Shaoxin, "as a responsible country we are putting positive efforts in this field".

Commission officials say privately that this could help the discussion in Brussels, coupled with an agreement to strengthen the EUís general code of conduct for arms exports.

The road to Beijing goes via Washington
But stiff opposition to lifting the ban is also coming from Washington, which is concerned about Chinaís rising power and its acquisition of hi-tech military equipment, which could be used against Taiwan.

Washington's stance is now major factor in the debate and shapes the UK and Dutch positions.

Some commentators warn that without transatlantic dialogue on the issue, EU-US relations could be further soured.

However the Chinese government dismisses claims that it wants the ban lifted in order to obtain new military technologies - contrary to Washington's fears.

"We do not need and have no capacity to increase arms imports from the EU", said Mr Shaoxin, also scotching ideas that opening the arms market may help Brussels address its massive trading deficit with Beijing in the short term.

China instead says it wants to lift the ban as a way of breaking with its past image says Mr Shaoxin, "It is more politically symbolic", he said.

EU leaders are expected to return to the matter in December.

[ 12-04-2004, 05:27 AM: Message edited by: Dreamer128 ]
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Old 12-04-2004, 07:49 AM   #2
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Screw them, the ban should not be lifted. What future cooperation are they talking about anyway ? There never has been a healthy relationship with the Chinese in the past, and there won't be one in the future either, simply because they can't be trusted.
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Old 12-04-2004, 06:38 PM   #3
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Oh come on Johnny, we can trust them! Why would one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world lie to us about their desire about aquiring weapons technology.
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Old 12-04-2004, 07:40 PM   #4
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So what will China do if EU don't lift the ban? nuke them? Give me a break!
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:13 AM   #5
Sir Degrader
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I take it then none of you have seen Crouching Tiger hidden dragon or hero. They don't need nukes! On another note,economic embargoes BY China on the EU might be a side effect.
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Old 12-05-2004, 11:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sir Degrader:
I take it then none of you have seen Crouching Tiger hidden dragon or hero. They don't need nukes! On another note,economic embargoes BY China on the EU might be a side effect.
Oh yeah...and i'm sure we all starve to death if they'd do that. [img]graemlins/hehe.gif[/img]
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Old 12-05-2004, 11:23 PM   #7
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OTOH, Chinese factories account for a large proportion of garment manufacturing, among other things. It might have a bigger economic spinoff effect than you think.

Although I can't say keeping an arms embargo on China troubles me very much.

It wouldn't be such a problem if companies and governments took a look at the larger picture and flatly refused to sell certain equipment to China.
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Old 12-06-2004, 05:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aerich:
OTOH, Chinese factories account for a large proportion of garment manufacturing, among other things. It might have a bigger economic spinoff effect than you think.

Although I can't say keeping an arms embargo on China troubles me very much.

It wouldn't be such a problem if companies and governments took a look at the larger picture and flatly refused to sell certain equipment to China.
If that's the only thing, than China would be pissing in it's own pool, wouldn't it ? The way i see it, China has little or nothing we really need overhere OR couldn't buy elsewhere. Now unless they start an all out war, they can do nothing that would make us loose any sleep.
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Old 12-07-2004, 03:10 AM   #9
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Well, the threat looks like posturing anyway. China, as a country that is developing in leaps and bounds, has more to lose at this point by breaking off ties (which I think was your point, johnny).

They probably won't dare do anything drastic until at least after the Beijing Olympics, anyway.

As I said earlier, getting rid of an arms embargo is not one of my high priorities, and I suspect it's not high on anybody else's list either, except for politicos in countries "suffering" under said embargoes.

I wouldn't mind lifting it to make a political statement (as Shaoxin represents it would be), just as long as it remains a political statement and no arms trade with China actually results. This feeling is not restricted to China, either. In my book, arms trade = bad. Doesn't matter who it's with.
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Old 12-08-2004, 07:44 PM   #10
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This is just another step in China's long-term goal of recapturing Taiwan, the "rogue province". I have said many, many times that that is probably the number one foreign policy goal China has right now.
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