Chinese Arms Embargo

U.S. officials are calling on China to show greater transparency in its military strategy and doctrine, saying the country’s continuing military buildup is a “source of concern and interest” for China’s neighbors and the United States. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said March 8 that the international community will have a greater understanding of China’s intentions if there is “a better understanding of Chinese military doctrine" and its budget process, as well as the kinds of equipment the Chinese are developing. McCormack made his remarks after China announced an 18 percent increase in its military spending, and nearly two months after it tested an anti-satellite system.

The United States and the European Union (EU) have a shared interest in maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, according to R. Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs. Burns testified before a joint hearing of the House International Relations Committee and the House Armed Services Committee April 14, 2005. He said the United States will soon begin a strategic dialogue with the EU on the general security situation in the Asia-Pacific region and plans to include discussions of ways to align and strengthen export-control regimes. Such dialogue is necessary to limit sales of military equipment to China that put regional peace and security at risk, according to Burns.

The United States opposes any possible lifting of the European Union (EU) embargo on arms sales to China, says Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs John Hillen. In a November 3, 2005, address to the 18th Annual Global Trade Controls Conference in London, Hillen said that even though the United States welcomes EU efforts to improve its Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers, a strengthened code is not "an adequate substitute for the EU's China arms embargo."  The assistant secretary cited EU public reports on arms transfers showing that some EU member states currently approve arms transfers to China under "both the embargo and the Code...Indeed, EU data shows that those Member States approve more licenses for China than they deny," he added. "This does not provide us a strong feeling of confidence that the Code of Conduct alone without an embargo would be an effective guarantee that lifting the embargo would not result in a qualitative or quantitative increase in EU arms transfer to China."

2005: U.S. Opposes Any Lifting of EU Embargo on Arms Sales to China (Nov 8, 2005) | State's Burns Discusses EU Enlargement, Middle East, China, NATO (Jun 29, 2005) |

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and EU High Representative Javier Solana discussed the European Union's arms embargo on China during a press briefing at the State Department May 3, 2005. “We are ready and willing to have a deeper dialogue about China between the European Union and the United States, not only of China, but about the whole region of the Southeast Asia,” Solana said.

Sec. Rice, EU's Solana Discuss Chinese Arms Embargo, Iran (May 3, 2005) | Zoellick in Brussels Discusses Airbus, China Arms Embargo (Apr 5, 2005) | Rice Describes EU Arms Embargo Discussion as "Fruitful" (Feb 10, 2005)

2004: White House Report, December 17: Arms Sales to China, Turkey (Dec 17, 2004) | U.S. Concerned Over Possible End of EU Arms Embargo against China (Jun 3, 2004)