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US Resolution on Arms Ban Reveals Its Distrust of China, EU

The US House of Representatives adopted Resolution 411-3 on Tuesday, calling on the EU to maintain its arms ban against China and President George W. Bush to use his trip to Europe this month to urge them to reassess their "unwise course of action." 

Some Congress members have said the EU's removal of the embargo would affect its cooperation with the United States on major weapons systems, and others even suggested they will push for retaliation if the embargo is to be lifted.


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed her concern over the arms embargo issue and reiterated Washington's opposition to its suspension during an interview with the news agency AFP on Tuesday.


"One has to be careful not to send the wrong signal about human rights, and of course we do have concerns about the strategic military considerations," she said on the eve of an eight-nation tour to Europe.


The latest remarks over the EU's arms embargo by Rice and some Congress members not only shows Washington's ingrained double standards, but also shows its continuing mistrust of China and even its own ally the EU.


While vociferous in its opposition to possible EU arms sale to China, the United States should remember who is the world's largest weapons exporter.


US officials have repeatedly warned European countries that without the embargo, their advanced military arms and technology to the Chinese mainland could some day be used against US forces deployed across the Taiwan Straits if there is a war.


These US officials are basing their theory on two hypotheses: If the embargo is abandoned, the EU would inevitably reach a larger arms deal with the Chinese mainland and the mainland would use these sophisticated weapons to attack US forces in the Taiwan Straits.


The Chinese government has reaffirmed on many occasions that its continuous push for the EU's lifting of the ban is only because it is a discriminatory measure against China.


It has also made it crystal clear that the suspension of the ban does not mean it will import more weapons from the EU.


With Sino-European relations flourishing, some EU members have shown a stronger willingness to end the more than 15-year-old arms embargo, which has proven one of the largest obstacles to the further development of the bilateral ties.


But the EU also said weapons sales will be carried out under a 1998 code of conduct on arms exports, which sets out strict criteria for any arms deals.


Under such circumstances, there is no reason for the United States to excessively exaggerate the "danger" lifting the arms ban will pose.


One aspect of US logic is that maintaining the ban helps avoid the use of force across the Taiwan Straits.


But the United States needs to realize the mainland's determination to prevent Taiwan from being separated is not built on its fortified military armaments and import of advanced weapons.


And it is precisely the upgraded US arms exports to Taiwan that have emboldened some separatists.


The US has its own standards to judge its national interests. So do other countries.


The Sino-EU ties should progress without influences from a third party.


(China Daily February 4, 2005)

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