Int'l Herald Tribune

No to EU's arming China

International Herald Tribune
Saturday, October 30, 2004
By Ming-chi Wu, president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs

The editorial "Courting China" (Oct. 19) highlights President Jacques Chirac's effort to lift the longstanding European Union arms embargo against China.

The French president seems to forget that the ban on exporting arms to China was instituted in response to international outrage over the 1989 massacre of unarmed students and civilians in Tiananmen Square.

Fifteen years later, Chirac intends to supply the same army with highly advanced weaponry in direct contradiction to stated EU principles of respect for human rights and democracy.

Besides domestic repression, another function of the Chinese government is to intimidate Taiwan. If the EU repeals its embargo, it will also enhance the formidable threat Beijing already poses to Taiwan.

A European Union that exports arms to China would find itself in opposition to the United States, which supplies defensive weaponry to Taiwan. Lifting the embargo would add strain to the already battered trans-Atlantic alliance.

The European Union must now define itself politically as either a continued force for the advancement of human rights and preservation of stability, or as merely a trading association that seeks profit at every opportunity without regard to human cost.

Ming-chi Wu, Washington, DC