Taiwan: U.S. Concerned over EU Lifting Arms Embargo on China
"Though, in terms of weapons, it would not have a big impact on China's ongoing arms buildup, it will give a moral boost to China, which wants to become a major military power," Taiwan's economic and trade representative in Jakarta David Y.L. Lin said at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.
Indonesia only recognizes Beijing under its "One China" policy and does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. But Taipei has invested over $100 billion in China -- which considers Taiwan a renegade province -- and $13 billion in Indonesia.
If the present modernization of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) continues at the present level, according to David, China would not only emerge as a new global military power, but could pose a threat to Asia -- including Southeast Asia -- America and the Europe.
"That's why, the EU must be cautious in lifting the arms embargo against China, which is still a Communist country," David said.
The European Union (EU) imposed the ban after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, in which many Chinese students were killed.
Meanwhile, AFP reported from Tokyo quoting a senior U.S. official as saying that if the EU removed the ban against China it would send a wrong signal given human rights concerns.
"We believe that lifting the EU arms embargo at a time when China's human rights record remains poor would send a wrong message," John Bolton, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told a seminar in Tokyo.
Bolton said the EU should keep the 15-year-long embargo to show the world was united in putting concern over China's human rights records before commercial gains.
"It is important to send a message that the international community continues to be concerned about the Chinese government's continuing human rights abuses," he said.
EU members France and Germany -- both major arms exporters -- agree with China that the ban should be lifted while calling on Beijing to respect human rights and regional stability.
But the United States and Japan oppose the lifting, which could come in the next six months, saying the move would undermine Taiwan and encourage repression in the vast communist nation.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday that selling arms to China could send it a wrong signal and upset the military balance in East Asia.
China is seen as seeking access to cutting-edge technology to upgrade its weapons systems and reduce its reliance on Russian armaments.
Source: The Jakarta Post