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Keep Arms Embargo On China

The European Parliament passed a resolution against lifting the weapons embargo imposed on China after the brutal 1989 suppression of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed the European Parliament’s action. The U.S., she said, has "been very concerned about the lifting of an embargo that would send the wrong message on human rights, given that it was imposed in response to the Tiananmen Square situation."

Ms. Rice also pointed out that, "Increased military modernization in China could, indeed, threaten U.S. security interests in Asia, not to mention the security interests of other allies in the region." A decision by the European Union to provide China with advanced military technologies would not be helpful for regional security; it would also send the message that commercial advantages are more important than human rights.

There is another way. Secretary of State Rice says the U.S. would like to help China become a global partner willing to match its growing capabilities with its international responsibilities:

"We seek to incorporate into this dynamic region a rising China. Indeed, we believe that working together, we and our allies and friends can help create an environment in which a rising China is a positive force."

The U.S. wants to encourage the development of a peaceful, democratic China through constructive relations. The U.S. believes that Europe shares this interest and will decide that there are better ways to promote friendly relations than by selling weapons. Eventually, said Secretary of State Rice, China must "embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government if it is fully to reap the benefits and meet the challenges of its changing role in the world."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.