Should Europe Lift Its Arms Embargo on China?

Discussion in 'China' started by DongFeng, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. DongFeng

    DongFeng New Member

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    Barack Obama is not the only one with a China-size headache. Leaders in Europe have also tangled with Beijing recently on everything from trade to climate change to Iran. But perhaps the thorniest issue between Europe and China is the arms embargo that's been in place ever since the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
    The E.U. is now rethinking this 20-year-old arms ban. Spain, which holds the E.U.'s rotating presidency until July 1, has called for a review of the embargo as a way of improving relations with Beijing. "We are all aware of the new role which China is assuming in the world," said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. This is great news for China, especially given its fury over the recent decision by the U.S. to sell $6.4 billion worth of arms to Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province. China says the lifting of the embargo is more symbolic than anything else — it would signal a European acceptance of the country's status as an equal player on the world stage. The weapons ban has certainly not prevented China from becoming a military power — its annual defense budget officially stands at $70 billion, although the Pentagon believes the real figure to be twice as high. Rather, Beijing sees the embargo as outdated and insulting, considering the other nations currently subject to an E.U. arms ban are all pariah states — Congo, North Korea, Iran, Burma, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. (A similar E.U. embargo against Uzbekistan was lifted in October, despite continuing concerns about human rights in the Central Asian nation.)
    And Europe could certainly benefit from better relations with Beijing, which has been dismissive of E.U. diplomatic requests and disdainful of European attempts to be more of a global leader in recent years. In 2008, China canceled a summit with E.U. leaders after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. Then, last December, China executed a British citizen for drug-smuggling — the first European to be executed in China in 50 years — despite condemnations from the E.U. and pleas from supporters that he be spared because of his mental illness. And at last year's Copenhagen climate conference, E.U. leaders were shocked by China's scorn for European efforts at securing a meaningful commitment to cut emissions.
    The harsh tone from Beijing stings even more since the E.U. had hoped its new Lisbon Treaty — intended to create a more streamlined institution with a strong President and Foreign Minister speaking on its behalf — would ensure the bloc would have a bigger presence on the global stage. But China has historically sought to exploit the E.U.'s internal divisions to fuel its economic growth, not deal with the bloc as a whole. All of the E.U.'s biggest members have cozied up to Beijing at one point or another in the hopes of guaranteeing lucrative trade deals.
    But the tide is now turning in Europe. Charles Grant, director of the London-based Centre for European Reform, published a paper last month arguing that Europeans need to agree on a single message in their dealings with China so that Beijing can't play a game of divide and conquer. At the same time, he said, the E.U. should "abandon the fiction of a 'strategic partnership,'" which cannot be meaningful with such divergent value systems, and focus on a limited number of issues on which China and the E.U. can find agreement.
    Lifting the arms ban may not be so simple, however, with strong resistance already developing against the idea. Many E.U. countries are worried about China's increasingly threatening behavior toward Taiwan and are reluctant to sanction an arms buildup that would further isolate the island. France, for one, had called for the embargo to be lifted in 2004, but now says it should stay in place. The European Parliament is also opposed to ending the ban so long as Beijing continues to sell arms to countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan, whose governments the West accuses of committing or supporting violent acts against civilians. And the E.U. would also have to think carefully about antagonizing the U.S., which has its own arms embargo on China.
    François Godement, a senior policy fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations and president of the Asia Centre at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris, says the Spanish bid to review the embargo is especially ill-conceived since there has been no mention of trying to squeeze concessions from China first. "There seems to be some expectation of future Chinese goodwill of an unspecified nature," he says. "But China has steadfastly refused to give anything in exchange." Godement says Europeans have long deluded themselves that China will accept them as equal partners when, in fact, Beijing will likely continue probing the bloc for weaknesses and division. He says the ban should only be lifted after Europe takes a long and hard look at its China policy. "If there is one good thing about China's strident tone, it has been to help the E.U.'s big countries realize that they cannot go it alone and they need a united front," he says.
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Once the embargo on China is lifted the collapse of NATO will follow, if China is a currently a threat to USA after the embargo they will be an even bigger threat,having the best of all worlds Russian and European weapons; sharing of weapon technologies between NATO nations may also cease?
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Lifting of Embargo is unlikely with US increasingly viewing China as enemy what with its recent sales of weapons to Taiwan and meeting of Obama with HH Dalai Lama. Europe is more than willing to lift the embargo with economy pinching its polity due to recent economic recession, but without US nod, Europe is unlikely to lift the embargo.
     
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    I prefer EU not to lift the arms embargo. Why?
    1) What EU doesn't sell will not be sold even without that embargo. Yeah more symbolic than substantial.
    2) With that embargo China certainly is (forced to do?) both developing military capacity on its own and sourcing from other suppliers (master fishing instead of merely buying fish). In comparison India has a rather diversified procurement parade - the US, Russia, Israel and what's more?
    3) NATO? even with demise of USSR there's still a NATO thing??!! that illuminates why a dignified power can't count on others' 'goodwill'
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  6. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    And what has that policy gotten China? In 1989, the PLA forces were only 20 years behind the West in technology gaps. Now they are over 30. Most of the technology acquired from the West way back then is still the backbone of Chinese capabilities along with outdated Soviet. Back in the eighties and early ninties, China was able to mass produce thousands of weapon systems. Now production of new items only comes at a trickle.
     
  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Utterly short sighted consideration. Arm your own enemy as you want to make quick bucks by arms sales. china would love the europeans to sell to them so that they learn the latest design which will be quickly reverse engineered. So later on, no sales for them, but they have parted with the tech.
     
  8. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    to be frank even with that embargo being lifted do u foresee the Eur will sell to China the 'latest' design?in/before 1989 China was an 'ally' of the West against USSR. But with dissolution of USSR gone were the days when Eur or US will sell any stuffs meaningful to China. That's why it's said
    Then after so many years tell me there're MORE or LESS noise about China's threat if yours is true that compared to 1980's/90's
    The earlier one gets disillusioned the sooner he gets self dependent
     
  9. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    the lift of embargo will not make any difference to the status quo in fact.

    the status quo is that China in fact can get whatever Chinese is interested in from Europe and even USA indirectly,under the name of "civilian tech " or in a "Spin-off" way..

    the lift of embargo is more like a token or a political posture to CHina.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    you are right Badguy this is all for show but the reality is much different even with the sanctions and embargo China was still able to produce J-17,attack helicopters, transport plane etc... the embargo has done little to nothing except save China money. In fact China and India have a commonality that when they are under sanctions/embargo their weapons programs move much faster than they do without sanctions?? This in the long run is better for China developmentally and in cost.
     
  11. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    EU doesn't have to sell latest design. China still wants European tech that is better than what they have access to. Pakistan is buying low tier French products whose technology was made obsolete 15 years ago and are still better than Chinese. Chinese still illegally copy license production from pre-1989 of Euro products that were obsolete when we sold them. China has fallen behind enough we don't have to sell them the top tier.

    There was no threat in the eighties, China was seen as a friendly nation. After Tienamen, people were so scared of China they cut off all arms sales because they were progressing too fast. Chinese arm production didn't start to fall unitl their already purchased license ran out.

    Iran said the same thing, now look at their pathetic military.
     
  12. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    glad we already have been in consensus
    1) EU ought to continue its arms embargo over Chna
    2) China is harmless while being busy pirating obsolete designs
     
  13. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    I think Europe would have already lifted its arm embargo on China many years ago but it was China who was having a different body language and not so proactive to lobby for the same.
    China has constrains to keep its defence capabilities hidden due to its rivalry with US and to project he is not the weakest among N5. Its will be a two way traffic for China opening her doors for Europe
    or vice a versa with a potential risk of exposing its real capabilities to Europe and its sister concerns. Furthermore the way china was doing business with desperate Russia was not the way Europe can
    expect her to do. The only exception was over friendly Israel but being a small country any kind of trade was a natural instinct specially with china as a distant nation. But thankfully uncle Sam was there to Police around.
     
  14. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sometimes, I was wondering if this privacy copy is a kind of undertable deal between China and EU.
    How come china can continue to get its hand on some military products from EU while Russia just stole the technology by KGB?
    The scenario may be like this--
    EU: We got something you may be interested!
    China: Yes, of course.
    EU: You know, according the law we made with USA, we cannot sell this to you. So, we will give you some final product with cheap price since we already got some better tech. But we will not tell you anything further about this product, you have to figure out by yourself.
    China: Deal!
    EU: by the way, we will tell american you copied our product illegally when your own product comes out. Do you mind?
    China: Never!
     

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