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New Crisis in Atlantic Relations?

   
InternationalFrance and Germany's approach to the removal of the arms embargo on China has once again strained Washington-Brussels relations.



US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement, "After all, we are responsible for protecting law and order in the Pacific" has received harsh criticism in the European Union (EU). Great Britain, however, thinks differently about the arms embargo to Berlin and Paris. It is envisaged that if the EU takes the decision to remove the embargo, the US could retaliate and cancel the arms purchases from European companies.

Following his meting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo, the French President Jacques Chirac related that they had discussed the issue of the EU decision for a lifting of the arms embargo with the prime minister. "Koizumi expressed his concerns regarding the matter and asked for an explanation," said Chirac, who reminded that the circumtances when the embargo decision was taken have changed and the embargo is no longer necessary. Chirac explained that China has every right to request a lifting of the embargo and reminded that the EU had promised to do so before the end of the first half of the year. The French President also reiterated its support for Japan to become a permenant representative of the United Nations (UN) Security Council..

The US is calling on the EU not to remove the arms embargo against China. Meanwhile the strong reactions against German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder' suggestion of an end to the arms embargo against China have been increasing in Germany. Coalition partner the Greeens Party spokesperson for foreign policy Fritz Kuhn warned Schoreder not to create new tension with the US. The Greens are critical about the lifting of the embargo. The Christian Union parties, on the other hand, also made similar statements recently.