Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Implications of Lifting the EU-China Arms Embargo
Hyde/Hunter Schedule Thursday Joint HIRC/HASC Hearing

BACKGROUND:  Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the European Union (EU) voted to adopt a multilateral embargo on China intended to prohibit the sales of arms that could be used for internal repression.  Although it was established as a multilateral embargo, the embargo had no legal weight or enforcement mechanisms within the EU itself; individual member states were free to interpret the meaning of the embargo.  Each EU member adopted its own internal guidelines on what the embargo meant, but the larger EU members have interpreted it to restrict the sale of lethal weapons only.  Over the last few years, individual EU members have begun selling China non-lethal systems and technology useful in the areas of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that serve as significant force multipliers for the Chinese military.  At the same time, the Chinese government has diplomatically pressured the EU and its members to lift the embargo on lethal weapons altogether.  They view the embargo as discriminatory and view its lifting as an important symbolic political act.  France, Germany, and other EU members claim the embargo hinders stronger EU political and economic relations with China.  In the fall of 2004, the EU formally announced that it desired to lift the embargo, although a formal decision to do so has not been made. The House of Representatives (H. Res. 57) and the Senate (S. Res. 91) passed resolutions deploring the EU’s movement towards ending the embargo, warning this would upset the regional balance in Asia, increase the threat to U.S. forces deployed in the region, as well as to Taiwan, and send the wrong signal to China on human rights. While China’s new anti-secession law and U.S. opposition may have slowed the EU’s plans, France and Germany appear more determined than ever to lift the embargo.  In general, EU member states appear to be trying to “manage” the dispute with the United States by continuing to develop a post-embargo set of arms sales procedures, the primary purpose of which appears to be to head off retaliatory measures from Washington, particularly enactment of new laws by Congress that might curtail European access to U.S. military technology or the U.S. defense procurement market.

WHAT:                Joint Committee Oversight Hearing: 
                             The National Security and Foreign Policy Implications for the United States of Arms Exports to the People’s Republic of China by Member States of the European Union

                             Full Committee on International Relations,
      
                     
U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

                             Full Committee on Armed Services,
                            
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman

WHEN:                9:00 a.m., Thursday, April 14, 2005

WHERE:              Room 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:      R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State;
                              Peter Lichtenbaum,
Acting Under Secretary, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce; and
                              Peter W. Rodman,
Assistant Secretary, International Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense.

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