Tuesday, March 22, 2005

European Union Said to Keep Embargo on Arms to China

By STEVEN R. WEISMAN, The New York Times, March 22, 2005

WASHINGTON, March 21 - Yielding to pressure from President Bush and threats of retaliation from Congress, the European Union has put off plans to lift its arms embargo on China this spring and may not press the issue until next year, American and European officials said Monday.

The officials said that in addition to American pressure, European nations have been shaken by the recent adoption of legislation by the Chinese National People's Congress authorizing the use of force to stop Taiwan from seceding. The Chinese action, they said, jolted France and undercut its moves to end the embargo before June. "Europe wants to move forward on the embargo, but the recent actions by China have made things a lot more complex," said a senior European official. "The timeline has become more difficult. The timeline is going to have to slip."

The embargo was imposed after China's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and although some countries have eased their restrictions, it has curbed the supply of weapons to China while also becoming a major irritant in China's relations with the West.--------------

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