Sunday, March 20, 2005

Rice: European Nations Must Not Arm China

By ANNE GEARAN, The Associated Press, Sunday, March 20, 2005; 6:11 AM

BEIJING - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Sunday that European governments are irresponsible if they sell sophisticated weaponry to China that might one day be used against U.S. forces in the Pacific. "It is the United States, not Europe, that is defending the Pacific," Rice said. She spoke in Seoul, the penultimate stop on her weeklong tour of Asia.

South Korea, Japan and the United States are all Pacific powers and all contribute resources to keep the Asia-Pacific region stable, Rice said. The European Union may soon lift an arms embargo on China that was imposed after the deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Lifting the embargo would allow sale of technology and weapons that China badly wants to modernize its creaky military. China has recently gone on a military spending spree that Rice said concerns the United States.

"The European Union should do nothing to contribute," to the possibility that Chinese forces might turn European technology on Americans, Rice said after meetings with the South Korean president and foreign minister.---------------

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