Non togliere l’embargo alla Cina

Cina, armi, UE, USA, rappot, Francia

Non togliere l’embargo alla Cina

Editoriale WSJ8/12/04:

· Contro Francia, Spagna e Schroeder su fine embargo armi a Cina;

· maggioranza paesi EU (attorno a GB: NL, DK, IRL) sono per mantenerlo;

· Schroeder si trova contro il suo partito e il Bundestag,

· Zapatero è pronto a battere i tacchi quando Parigi comanda

· [Tace su posizione italiana pro fine embargo]

· “La Cina ammazzerà soldati americani con armi fornite dagli europei nel prossimo decennio?”

· Contro “grande politica estera” di Chirac, contro tentativo di creare poli contrapposti a USA: UE e Cina.

· Altra ragione per Schroeder e Chirac: gli affari. Contratti per acquisti di 23 Airbus per $1,3MD. Ma firma altro contratto più grosso, per acquisto di A380 è bloccato proprio a causa di divieto export armi.

Don’t End the Embargo on China

December 8, 2004

Will China be killing U.S. soldiers with European-supplied weapons sometime in the next decade? If the question sounds alarmist it is because China’s own rhetoric is, when the subject is Taiwan. But obviously this scenario does not need to come to pass if the EU turns a deaf ear to Jacques Chirac’s constant appeals to lift an arms embargo against China.

So far the cards seem to be stacked against the French president getting his way. Over the last two months, the European Parliament and Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, have both voted against lifting the embargo, which has been in place since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The issue will come up again today when Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visits The Hague for this year’s Sino-EU summit.

Mr. Wen has been racking up the frequent flyer miles with his missions to Europe this year , but he’s likely to find that many other EU members are also against selling weapons to China. Interestingly, it is practically the same fault line one finds on many other issues, from the Iraq war to economic liberalization.

A majority of countries including Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland have clustered around Britain in opposition to lifting the embargo . China’s constant saber-rattling against democratic Taiwan is one reason, human rights violations another.

Yet another is that the U.S. back in October hinted that it might curtail the transfer of sensitive technology to the EU if it went ahead and started selling weapons to China. It is obviously not in the interest of the U.S., the main guarantor of Taiwan’s independence, to see U.S.-developed weapons pass to hands that could use them against U.S. forces.

On the other side you find most of the usual suspects. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is in China this week, has decided to oppose his own Bundestag and party to side with Mr. Chirac. In Madrid, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero continues to click his heels smartly when calls from the Elysée arrive.

The anti-embargo group is in a decided minority, and it helps them that Mr. Chirac has obdurately opposed compromises that might get the pro-London group to drop its opposition, such as strengthening the EU’s code of conduct on weapons sales. But Mr. Chirac is nothing if not persistent, and he’s got two reasons to continue championing Beijing’s case: la Gloire de la France is one and lucre the other. Take your pick for what comes first.

In the first instance, there is Mr. Chirac’s unrelenting plugging for global “multipolarity.” It is the French president’s conceit that he has fashioned a “grand foreign policy” that befits a great statesman such as himself, and that it consists of helping create poles of power that will rival the U.S. The EU is to be one; China another, he says to whomever will stick a microphone in his face (so much for France being an ally of the U.S.). Additionally, it is also part of Mr. Chirac’s vanity that he sees himself as an Asian expert.

Whether it is in the interest of the French to see the rise of a non-democratic power at the expense of an old ally that shares many values is, of course, something that seems to have gone by the boards. But Mr. Chirac may believe he is acting in the best interest of the French for other reasons.

While in Beijing this week — and between calls for an end to the embargo — Mr. Schroder was able to godfather a $1.3 billion deal for 23 airplanes between Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Group. But China has been dangling a perhaps bigger prize before the Europeans.

When Mr. Chirac visited China in October, he was led to believe that all the Ts had been crossed and all the Is dotted on a deal for an unknown number of A380s, a double-deck, 555-seater that is bigger than the planes sold this week. Airlines and regulators had reached preliminary agreement, but Mr. Chirac was forced to leave Beijing with the tryst unconsummated, a rarity for him.

Chinese officials deny it, but Lu Xiaosong of CASGC, recently told the AWSJ that the arms embargo was one of the reasons delaying the final green light. “It’s understandable. Politics and economics can never be separated,” Mr. Lu said.

It’s a sentiment we expect Mr. Chirac to share, and the Elysee spokesman Jerome Bonafont confirmed Sunday that the issue of the embargo had been broached in a telephone conversation his boss had with Chinese President Hu Jintao the same day (the topic of the embargo was left out of Chinese accounts of the call). Mr. Hu told Mr. Chirac he wanted to see this gum removed from his shoe “as soon as possible,” while Mr. Chirac went one better and reminded his friend that France wanted to see it done “now.”

China’s rise in the world should be encouraged, but it will be better for the globe’s other inhabitants (and for the Chinese themselves). Selling it weapons while China continues to make hysterical statements about Taiwan would only encourage military hawks, not civil society.

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