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New Chinese law authorizes force against Taiwan; U.S.-EU divisions deepen over arms sales to China
China Reform Monitor

China Reform Monitor No. 582, March 21, 2005
American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC

Editor: Ilan Berman
Associate Editor: Lisa-Marie Shanks


March 14:

China has announced the enactment of an anti-secession law that paves the way for the PRC to use force against Taiwan to prevent the island nation from seeking formal independence, the Washington Post reports. The measure, unanimously passed by the Chinese Communist Party's National People's Congress, comes a day after Chinese President Hu Jintao was elevated to the post of chairman of China's state military commission, replacing former President Jiang Zemin. The law's passage has been accompanied by ominous signs of stepped-up preparations for a possible invasion of Taiwan. "We shall step up preparations for possible military struggle" and "shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Hu confirmed to Chinese legislators.

March 15:

U.S. officials are raising new concerns over China's proliferation of sophisticated WMD and missile technology to Iran. In recent testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Stephen G. Rademaker, the State Department's Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, confirmed that "unacceptable proliferant activity" continues to take place between Tehran and Beijing. The United States is "particularly concerned about continued transfers of CBW- and missile-related technology by Chinese entities to Iran, despite the imposition of sanctions," Rademaker told members of the Congressionally-appointed commission in comments carried by

March 16:

China's rapid economic growth and expanding military spending have provoked Japan to end its currency loans to the PRC. After a drawn-out negotiating process, one that was initially resisted by the Chinese government, the two countries have agreed that China will stop receiving loans of the Japanese yen in 2008, with the Straits Times reports. Tokyo has suggested for some time that Beijing needs to "graduate" from its aid, which has been constant since the 1980s and has exceeded three trillion yen for infrastructure projects. But Japanese lawmakers have become more vocal recently, citing rising tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over the disputed Daiyou Islands and a potential conflict over Taiwan as reasons to sever China's aid.

March 18:

Vladimir Putin has weighed in in support of China's newly-enacted anti-secession law, which authorizes the PRC to use force against Taiwan to prevent Taiwan's independence. In a formal statement to reporters in Paris carried by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, the Russian president declared that "[t]he Soviet Union and Russia have always been in favor of China's territorial integrity. We have not changed our position and think that China has a right to fully restore its territorial integrity."

March 20:

Diplomatic ties between the United States and its allies across the Atlantic are fraying over growing signs that the European Union is planning to lift a long-running arms embargo against China. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, currently on a tour of Asia, signaled Washington's growing unease during a press conference in Seoul. "[T]here are concerns about the rise of Chinese military spending and potentially Chinese military power and its increasing sophistication," Rice told reporters following meetings with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon. "[T]he European Union should do nothing to contribute to a circumstance in which Chinese military modernization draws on European technology or even the political decision to suggest that it could draw on European technology when, in fact, it is the United States -- not Europe -- that has defended the Pacific," said Rice in comments posted online by the State Department.

Rice's comments are only the latest sign of mounting American concern over the possible erosion of arms limitations on China. Just three days earlier, on March 17th, the Senate passed an amendment strongly urging the European Union to "continue its ban on all arms exports to the People's Republic of China" and to "more carefully regulate and monitor the end-use of exports of sensitive military and dual-use technology."

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