Saturday, March 12, 2005

EU Firm on Ending China Arms Embargo, EU Commissioner Says

By Dan Eaton, Reuters, Saturday, March 12, 2005; 7:33 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - The European Union is determined to lift its 15-year ban on arms sales to China and does not expect any retaliation from Washington when it does so, a top official said on Saturday. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told Reuters in an interview a delegation of European officials due in Washington in the coming week would seek to ease fears an end to the ban could alter the balance of power in East Asia.

President Bush has voiced concerns that the end of the embargo could skew the military balance between China and Taiwan. Lawmakers in Washington have also threatened to curtail defense cooperation with Europe if it proceeds. "Of course there are some concerns on the American side, but I have never heard the word retaliation," Ferrero-Waldner said. "We feel that China is a partner today, an important partner, and we don't want to treat China like Zimbabwe or some other country," she said during a visit to Jakarta.------------------

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