March 19, 2004 | News Releases on Europe
WASHINGTON, MARCH 19, 2004 - Leaders of the
European Union are expected, at a March 25-26 summit meeting in
Brussels, to lift their embargo on selling arms to
China - a move that Congress and the Bush
administration should make greater efforts to prevent, says a
leading China expert at The Heritage Foundation.
"Such a change could have grave security repercussions for the United States," says Tkacik. "China still threatens Taiwan with war, and the United States is legally obligated to help Taiwan defend itself. This means that, in the event of U.S.-Chinese hostilities, China may well end up using advanced weaponry from European defense firms against the United States."
Chinese diplomats recently held talks with EU officials in Brussels, trying to persuade them to lift the 15-year-old ban, which prevents EU firms from soliciting contracts with China's military. EU officials levied the embargo in 1989 to protest the brutalities the Chinese People's Liberation Army inflicted on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.
Echoing concerns that the State Department recently voiced to America's European partners, Tkacik outlines three main reasons for continuing the ban:
Tkacik recommends that the Bush administration and Congress try
to forestall any attempt to lift the ban by reminding EU leaders
why it exists and making them understand that lifting the ban could
threaten U.S. forces and be interpreted as an unfriendly act. They
also should restrict defense technology cooperation with companies
that sell arms to China.
Tkacik's paper can be found online at heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/ bg1739.cfm.