EU Arms Sales Watch

The European Union is trying to buy its way out of economic stagnation now by lifting a 15-year-old ban on selling arms to the People's Republic of China. The ban was enacted after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. However, as European military technology is far ahead of Chinese military technology, thanks to knowledge transfers under NATO, this would offer China an immense advantage over Taiwanese armaments. The consequences for the balance of power in the Taiwan Straits could be vast, a fact not lost on American and Japanese planners.

Taipei Times reports that President Bush is now hinting that the U.S. could take action against the EU if it lifts the ban without adequate restrictions on what technology can be transferred.

"There is deep concern in our country that a transfer of weapons would be a transfer of technology to China which would change the balance of relations in between China and Taiwan," Bush said.

Talks on the issue in Brussels with European leaders had been "constructive and open," he said, but signalled Washington might take punitive steps against the EU if it ends the ban.

Although he said he was open to EU efforts to draw up a plan to make lifting the 15-year-old embargo more palatable to Washington, he added skeptically: "Whether they can or not, we'll see."

For all that the EU rants against American oil interests in the Middle East (which is hypocritical as the entire developed world benefits from those same interests), it is no better in this case, as it is exporting a potential shift in the balance of power between a totalitarian pseudo-Communist power and a peaceful democratic people in favor of the totalitarians. Moreover, it would chip away at American advantages should a military showdown occur. For shame!

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

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