Thursday, April 21, 2005

Official French support for Taiwan invasion law

In a state visit to China, French premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin backs China's anti-secession law against Taiwan, and backs an end to the "anachronistic" arms embargo. Leave it to France to want to sell weapons to China with which to kill Americans ... here, thanks to Instapundit.

(I am curious, though. Since 1990, is there any instance of France passing up a business relationship. at least over time, with a bad or abusive state? Any case in which it did not put its commercial interests, over time, above principles of human rights or humanitarian interests? I am sure there must be some examples, but I can't think of any offhand. Saddam - well, no. China, up until now, might be the most important example ... perhaps some instances in Africa. But Iran, no. Libya, no. Algeria - not sure. I don't pretend to have the facts on this, but I am curious.)

Update, September 12, 2005: Note that the EU has decided to scrap its embargo on arms sales to China after all. It is noted here, in a briefing of September 9, 2005 with Secretary Rice:

"QUESTION: Madame Secretary, many in Washington appeared to believe that the EU's plans to lift the arms embargo against China was all but dead, but Javier Solana said in China this week that it will be lifted and EU diplomats privately say that any code of conduct that would accompany the lifting of the embargo will be limited in time so European countries can actually start making sales right away on the grounds that a code will be gone by delivery time.

What is your reaction to these comments, these developments, and will you be raising this with your European counterparts at the UN?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think we've made our views very clear about the EU arms embargo -- the potential lifting of the arms embargo against China. I think we've made it clear that we, after all, defend the Pacific and we believe very strongly that that needs to be understood by our European colleagues.

We've made a lot of progress with the Europeans in beginning to work toward a common strategic understanding of Asia. When you think about it, this is not a conversation that we have tended to have with our European colleagues. We've tended to talk about Europe or about the Middle East, but not about China and about Asia. And so our -- some State Department diplomats, Dan Fried and from the White House others went out to Europe. We've had policy planning talks with the Europeans about Asia and I think we will continue that discussion.

But our view of a lifting of the arms embargo has certainly not changed and I'll make that very clear. I don't want to start reacting to a comment here or a comment there. I think we've gone quite a long way to a common understanding of why the lifting of the arms embargo is problematic for the United States. And yes, I'll raise it but for now I'll leave it at that."

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