March 22, 2005

Success on Chinese Arms Procurement Fronts

The Europeans have gotten, at least for now, the message:

Yielding to pressure from President Bush and threats of retaliation from Congress, the European Union has put off plans to lift its arms embargo on China this spring and may not press the issue until next year, American and European officials said Monday.

The officials said that in addition to American pressure, European nations have been shaken by the recent adoption of legislation by the Chinese National People's Congress authorizing the use of force to stop Taiwan from seceding. The Chinese action, they said, jolted France and undercut its moves to end the embargo before June.

And so have the Israelis:

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz convened the heads of some 50 of the leading defense industry firms in the country Monday, and warned that they must get written permission from the ministry for any trip they or their representatives make to China, or for starting any business negotiations with the Chinese even if they are selling civilian equipment that happens to be manufactured in an Israeli defense plant. The CEOs were told ahead of time that it was about the crisis in relations with the U.S. in the wake of military sales to China. Some ministry department chiefs also attended the meeting.

Mofaz told them that Israel has a supreme interest in ending the dispute with Washington over military sales to China.

"We have made a commitment to the U.S. and I have no intention of breaking it," said Mofaz. "I insist on full transparency by all the industries regarding any activity in China."

He therefore demanded that the CEOs make sure to have formal approvals from the Defense Ministry for every commercial contact, anticipated sale or even visits by representatives of the defense industry companies to China. Mofaz further warned that they take what he said in "the widest possible interpretation" lest there be any mistakes, "because I am against mistakes, even if they were made in error."

Methinks Mofaz has been hearing an earful from points Washington.

Posted by Gregory at March 22, 2005 04:13 AM | TrackBack (5)

Greg, thanks for the update about Israel. I'm a supporter of Israel, but their arms sales to China have always concerned me, considering that I have family in Formosa. My mother voted for Clinton in '92 because she felt Bush 41 had been insufficiently tough on the Red Chinese. Although Bush 43 has lectured President Chen for being too bold in some moves, he has also been a steadfast partner for the only true Chinese democracy in history. It's good to see that he takes the Taiwan Straits situation seriously. I sure will miss his bold, frank way of doing business when he departs after '08.

Posted by: Bruce Chang at March 22, 2005 08:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

France may stick out of self interest.
But the only thing you can count on the Israelis doing is's their national pastime. Some Israeli will pop up caught trying to sell some weapons and Israel will swear they know nothing about it and the actors were acting alone.
Same old, same old.

Posted by: Cal at March 22, 2005 09:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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