Quadripartite in Paris meeting on 18 March with President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Spanish Prime Minister Josť Luis Zapatero, Vladimir Poutine had Litvinenko on the fact that the Russia was selling "a large number of weapons" to China and that economically "less, there will be competition, better it will be." Of course, politically, the Russian President said that the Russia was ready to cooperate in the Chinese market with its European partners especially in high technology. Remains whether the Member countries of the European Union is ready to lift the embargo on arms sales imposed after the bloody suppression of the 1989 student demonstrations in Tiananmen.
The European Council in December had given the green light to a such exercise of here in June, but the twenty-five are today divided. While reaffirming the commitment to Europe, the High Representative for foreign policy, Javier Solana, has recognized that it was too early to know if this could intervene before the end of the first half. Even by the end of the year for Britain, which has the Presidency of the Union in the second half, will be reluctant to press this case, against the advice of the United States, who fear any imbalance regional in Beijing, and Taiwan, even Tokyo and Seoul.
Jacques Chirac but had not disarmed to defend last Sunday still in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi the repeal of the ban on arms sales. This measure had been also qualified in December by the Chinese Premier of "fruit of the cold war." Beijing had assured that the lift did not necessarily imply purchases of weapons to the European Union. A good argument received by the France for which this measure is "obsolete". Of course! The position of the French President, the supporter of this fundraising, supported by the Germany, nevertheless raises many questions.
The first is that Jacques Chirac himself has estimated that it would not be likely to change weapons or sensitive technology exports to China. These exports, according to the President of the Republic, are already subject to constraints and rules "that cannot be violated". The European Union, stressed it in Paris, also develops a kind of Toolbox", i.e. a device to manage the phases of output of embargo. Moreover, for the Elysee, embargo concerning lethal weapons that China already produces or imports including Russia. Basically, for Paris, it is that of a political objective in very symbolic value.
Then why take it if it has no effect For President Jacques Chirac, the evolution of Chinese society between supporters of the rights of man and the rights of the company is now irreversible. And since 16 years, the Middle Kingdom is deeply turned. But it should not be illusions: China, with around 10 per year growth rates and GDP, according to the World Bank, of 1,100 dollars per capita in 2003 against 780 in 1999... is a bond of more than 40 (at least in dollars), has become a real eldorado for "old Europe". The objective is to build "a very strong partnership" with China, also says the Quai d'Orsay. But is this the best method Has the Chinese Communist regime really changed the human rights
Wang Dan, a student leader in 1989 who lives in exile in the United States after seven years in prison in China, pointed out, in the columns of the "Financial Times", that instead the situation was deteriorating. More than 500 Chinese opponents have recently asked in an open letter to the European Union not to lift the ban. Not to mention that non-governmental organizations denounce the increase in the sentences to death who are at record levels. Respect for human rights is certainly one of the reasons for not rushing and thereby lose an ultimate means of pressure. But this is not the only one. Economically, one might also ask if this symbolic lift will be an effect in the desired direction. In enacting the anti-secession threatening Taiwan of "non-peaceful means", Beijing has also just show the few cases that China was of intra-European discussions. Because this Act raised concerns in European political circles on the Chinese intentions. As the China did not need such a law, but that it was much a symbolic gesture to show its power.
Today, a lifting of the embargo is to Washington as much more evil come that the risk of unbalance the region strategically actually exists. And this at a crucial time. On the one hand, the United States asked China to put pressure on the Korea of the North to deter the regime of Kim Jong-il to build nuclear weapons. An application that faces a certain passivity. On the other hand, the popular army of liberation in China is in full effort of modernization and is advanced technology which would have the most need. After the Rand American Research Institute, "the purpose of this modernization effort is to acquire the Russia to advanced technology to meet specific needs as the army reforms in depth in key areas such as education, training, organization and doctrine".
Despite the denials, European countries would be highly sought in the high-tech. Any symbolic lifting of European sanctions would also recreate a dispute, undesirable, in the region with the United States. The Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, during his recent visit to Beijing, had said that this lift would certainly not send to Beijing good signal and would alter the military balance in the region, where the United States have very powerful interests of security. And remember that "after all the American forces that play the role of guarantor of the security in the Pacific region." That said, it is also the rise of the United States, after the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has led Beijing to show its claws. Europe and the United States should not make the economy of a common approach to integrate China, rather than compete to play the sorcerer's apprentices.