Arms to China

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Arms to China

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"There is deep concern in our country that a transfer of weapons would be a transfer of technology to China, which would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan, and that's of concern." President Bush's words on Tuesday in a joint news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. This item is not getting much attention on this trip but it really is the big story.

The EU is wanting to end the embargo on arms sales to China. The French Defense Minister expressed the feeling that it is just a matter of time before China develops their own technology, so why not sell now and slow down Chinese technology advance. The likely outcome of any high tech arms sales to China will be handing over the technology that will leapfrog their capability. The EU desire to sell arms to China is based on two reasons. The first is economic. Arms sales are good business for national governments. They bring in solid foreign exchange. The second reason is because it opposes America. It opens another area where Europe, read France and Germany, can gain advantage and counter American influence.

This move causes great concern for Japan. China already dominates the Asian neighborhood and has rattled nerves with rocket testing and submarines in Japanese waters. China is pushing against American influence in the region, especially in matter of Taiwan. China wants to annex the island nation to the mainland and America has been its guarantor of sovereignty since World War II.

If the EU begins selling arms the United States congress is expected to to impose embargoes on the sale of technology to the EU, a potentially larger problem.  "The resumption of arms sales to China represents a potential serious threat to the security of the U.S., Japan and Taiwan, and a diminishment of the European Union's stated commitment to democratic values," Mr. Hyde said yesterday through a spokesman.
    "In the mad dash to secure lucrative Chinese contracts, more thoughtful Europeans might want to assess the potential damage to trans-Atlantic defense cooperation."

The president is not likely to win on this issue. The arms sales will begin, and open a new challenge for relations between America and Europe.

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