EU heading for climbdown on China arms embargo

EU momentum to lift the China arms embargo is evaporating in the face of US pressure and the recent Chinese anti-secession law.

The temperature appears to be cooling in the heated EU-US conflict over the EU’s planned lifting of the 15-year long arms embargo against China. A planned decision on the issue during the EU summit in June 2005 is heading for a postponement. 

This comes after the visit of Annalisa Gianellla, the EU envoy, to Washington in mid-March. The visit failed to impress US congressmen. A more significant factor was the recent Chinese adoption of a law allowing it to attack Taiwan if it dares to declare its independence. 

Whereas France and Germany are still sticking to their guns, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who has backed lifting the embargo until now, admitted that the Chinese law had made it “more difficult”. The year 2006 is now being floated as a more likely time for an end to the embargo.

EU High Representative Javier Solana is now set to mediate in the EU-US conflict. 

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