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Congress may put on arms embargo on the EU

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/11024083.htm Tue, Mar. 01, 2005 Bush, Congress united on not arming China TOM RAUM Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2005

      Tue, Mar. 01, 2005

      Bush, Congress united on not arming China

      TOM RAUM

      Associated Press

      WASHINGTON - President Bush and congressional leaders
      of both parties presented a united front Tuesday in
      opposition to a European proposal to lift a
      15-year-old ban on arms sales to China. The lawmakers
      suggested that Congress might penalize participating

      Europeans are "on the wrong track" in taking steps to
      end the embargo, the chairman of the Senate Foreign
      Relations Committee told reporters after a White House
      meeting with the president.

      Bush briefed Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and top
      lawmakers about his five-day trip to Europe last week.

      During that visit, Bush and European leaders found
      considerable common ground on postwar Iraq and on
      promoting democracy in the Middle East. They remained
      far apart on China, however.

      Bush said during the trip that he told European
      leaders that Congress would not sit by if they began
      resuming arms sales to China, and that they needed to
      deal with U.S. lawmakers as well.

      Many major European countries have begun selling
      military equipment to China. The European Union plans
      to end the arms embargo imposed in the aftermath of
      the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

      Those plans brought sharp criticism from Bush, who
      told gatherings of both NATO and the EU that lifting
      the ban could change the balance of relations between
      China and Taiwan. He also cited a lack of major
      progress on human rights by China.

      Resuming arms sales to China "is a nonstarter with
      Congress," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., senior
      Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
      after the meeting with Bush.

      The House voted 411-3 last month for a nonbinding
      resolution condemning the EU plans, saying such a move
      would endanger both Taiwan and U.S. troops in Asia.
      The resolution noted that China has engaged in an
      extensive military buildup, including deployment of
      about 500 short-range ballistic missiles near the
      Taiwan Straits.

      A similar resolution is before the Senate.

      Lugar said that if the European Union goes ahead and
      lifts the arms embargo, Congress might impose "a
      prohibition on a great number of technical skills and
      materials, or products, being available to Europeans.
      We would not want to see sharing haphazardly with the
      Chinese those things which we think are the most

      He added, "It means a lot of difficulties for
      Europeans. Likewise for some Americans who may be
      involved in these operations."

      Sen. George Allen, R-Va., raised the possibility that
      the United States might want to reconsider its Joint
      Strike Fighter program, the next-generation fighter
      jet that is in development with a number of
      international partners.

      "We're not going to want that technology going to the
      People's Republic of China," Allen said.

      "I hope our European friends recognize the
      implications that this potential change in policy with
      China would do to their own relationship in arms and
      military construction with the United States," he

      Bush told the lawmakers that European leaders might
      soon be "beating on their doors," according to
      participants at Tuesday's session said.

      White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush
      discussed the arms sales issue as part of an overview
      he gave congressional leaders about the trip, and that
      he felt it needed to be discussed further.
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