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Rice: US disagrees with EU on arms embargo
Updated: 2005-02-07 03:26

Washington disagrees with the European Union's plans to lift an arms embargo on China, believing it could upset the military balance in East Asia, said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice smile prior their meeting in Jerusalem, February 6, 2005. [Reuters]

Asked in a BBC Television interview broadcast on Sunday if there was an "honest disagreement" between Europe and the United States over the embargo, Rice said: "We have concerns about the lifting of the embargo because we have deep concerns about the military balance in East Asia. We are concerned that there could be a shift that might affect American military -- the American military balance."

With China on the rise economically, politically and militarily, the EU has been in intense discussions in recent months about lifting the embargo.

US officials have warned that without the embargo, the Europeans would be free to sell Beijing advanced technology that could some day be used against US forces if America had to intervene into the war across the Taiwan Straits

The issue is among the more serious irritants in US-European relations as the two sides seek to recover from disputes over Iraq, trade and Iran.

In London on Friday, Rice said Europe was "open" to US concerns over the consequences of lifting the embargo and discussions continued.

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