Friday, March 16, 2007

France Once Again Demands EU Arm China

The French Foreign Minister calls for lifting the EU arms embargo on China:

France’s defense minister on Thursday renewed her government’s call to lift the EU arms embargo on China, denouncing opposition to the move as illogical.

Michele Alliot-Marie made the remarks in Japan, which with the U.S. has strongly protested French-led moves to end the embargo.

“There is a lack of logic in the position of some,” Alliot-Marie said before a meeting with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kyuma.

She called it “paradoxical” to “maintain the embargo for political reasons while at the same time giving China the Olympics, which are supposed to go solely to countries that respect international rules.”

The French minister has apparently mistaken sports games for weapons. The reason it is perfectly logical to give China the Olympics is because sports don't kill people. Duh.

Alliot-Marie said lifting the embargo would not pose a threat, arguing that European and French rules on arms exports “are even stricter than the rules of the embargo.”


Japan and the U.S. have protested the move and voiced concern about China’s military spending, which is due to rise some 18 percent this year.

But Alliot-Marie said it was “normal” for China “to expand its defense equipment in light of the role that it is playing and will be drawn to play in the world due to its population and economic power.”

Still, Alliot-Marie said she understood Japanese concerns that China’s military spending was not transparent and would press Beijing on the matter when she visits.

There is a nasty symbolism to announcing in Tokyo that the EU should drop the arms embargo on China. This too after President Chen had just asked the EU not to drop the embargo.

“What is important is for China’s military power to be put to the service of peace,” said Alliot-Marie, starting a regional tour that will also take her to Beijing and Seoul.

I have often wondered what kind of mind can talk and think this way.

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to blacklist European firms if the embargo is lifted, saying that European weapons based on U.S. technology could theoretically be used against U.S. forces if Washington defends Taiwan.

Hey, no shit. This is followed by the familiar Renegade Province reference.

Momentum to lift the embargo has declined within the European Union mostly due to concern over tension between China and Taiwan, which Beijing considers a part of its territory awaiting reunification.

Fortunately this is all talk at the moment, as more rational and ethical minds in Europe are opposed to the sale of weapons to China.


Anonymous said...

France knows that the noise they are making will not change much, if anything. They are just scoring some cheap and easy political points so that if or when the embargo is lifted they are the preferred merchant. And, of course, in the meantime it could tilt some aircraft or other non military procurement contracts in French firms' favor. Shameless..............

Anonymous said...

This is a subject that I have been trying to figure out for awhile. Why is France trying to open up this window? I wrote a letter about
it a couple of years in the TT ( ), but I think I accidentally left out one of the main reasons.

Perhaps one of the key reasons is that France needs more of China's money to invest in EDS which is the French corporation that makes Airbuses, but is also a defense contractor that is working on the Galileo EU GPS project. They want China to invest more in this. (or china may be pushing harder to get more tech transfer out of it with more investment). China wants it desperately because as it stands now, the USA controls the targeting for missiles. If war breaks out, the USA just needs to flip a switch and the Chinese military loses control of many assets. Galileo wiki I could be wrong here.., I am sure there is much more to it.

PS. Thanks for the blurb on the other post, its not really necessary though since I am really a slacker when it comes to blogging.

Anonymous said...

What kind of mind can talk and think this way? The kind of mind that represents a country with a large arms industry, and sees the Chinese military as a lucrative customer.

Raj said...

More importantly, Michael, Chirac is on his way out, and there's no reason to believe the new President will be as determined to get the embargo lifted.

Anonymous said...

The French (and Europeans in general) have to look out for their defense industries, which have fared very poorly of late compared to US and Russian arms exports. Look at the latest EADS earnings, dragged down by the Airbus fiasco. If the current trend continues, there won't be a separate European weapons industry left. Of course France wants to sell to China. Why should the Russians get all the money?

Ed en Vadrouille said...

Even as a French i cannot give you further insight on this since this intervention was obviously motivated by pressure from big armament industries.

It does go along, ideologically speaking, with the vision of a world with multiple large powers that Chirac has been defending for a while.

Anyway, that woman is... a bit like "the fifth wheel on a car, or the H in Hawaii... useless!" (a french expression)