US embassy cable - 04BRUSSELS3333

EU/CHINA ARMS EMBARGO: READOUT OF UK POLDIR SAWERS MEETING WITH JAPANESE DFM TANAKA

Identifier: 04BRUSSELS3333
Wikileaks: View 04BRUSSELS3333 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Brussels
Created: 2004-08-05 14:01:00
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Tags: PREL MARR PARM PHUM CH TW JA UK EUN USEU BRUSSELS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 003333 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/04/2014 
TAGS: PREL, MARR, PARM, PHUM, CH, TW, JA, UK, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS 
SUBJECT: EU/CHINA ARMS EMBARGO: READOUT OF UK POLDIR SAWERS 
MEETING WITH JAPANESE DFM TANAKA 
 
REF: A. USEU TODAY 08/05/04 
 
     B. LONDON 5381 
 
Classified By: USEU Poloff Van Reidhead for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Japanese Mission offered us a readout of 
the July 29 meeting in Tokyo between DFM Tanaka and UK PolDir 
Sawers to discuss the China arms embargo.  Sawers told Tanaka 
that the UK wanted to de-link any decision to lift the arms 
embargo from the EU-China summit in December because of 
concerns over the potential for a rise in cross-straits 
tension during the run-up to Taiwan's parliamentary 
elections.  Asked whether that meant the decision would be 
taken before or after the summit, Sawers responded that the 
UK could go either way.  Japanese said the EU Code of Conduct 
on arms exports, even if strengthened, would be an 
unacceptable substitute for the arms embargo.  Sawers 
described US concerns as "exaggerated," and suggested that 
even the US would come around in the end.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (S/NF) Poloff met August 5 with a counterpart from the 
Japanese Mission to the EU to get a readout of the July 29 
Tanaka-Sawers meeting in Tokyo.  Reading from Tokyo's 
reporting cable, the interlocutor explained that Sawers laid 
out three UK concerns about lifting the embargo: First, that 
lifting the embargo should not result in an increase in the 
"value" of sales currently going to China; second, that 
lifting the embargo should not damage human rights in China; 
and third, that it should in no way threaten Taiwanese 
security. 
 
Sawers: Code of Conduct Would Be Effective Substitute 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
3. (S/NF) Sawers argued that a strengthened Code of Conduct 
(CoC) on arms sales could be more effective than the current 
embargo because it would be more transparent and, like the 
current CoC, cover dual-use items.  He acknowledged, however, 
that the effort to strengthen the CoC is now stalled over 
French objections.  Other EU Member States generally agree 
that strengthening the system of pre-notification (of export 
license denials) would be the best way to increase the CoC's 
transparency and thus its effectiveness.  Tanaka responded 
that for Japan, the effort to strengthen the CoC, while 
positive in its own right, was immaterial to the debate over 
lifting the arms embargo on China.  A strengthened CoC would 
still not be legally binding or grant veto authority to 
individual Member States, and would thus be an unacceptable 
sustitute for Japan. 
 
De-Linking Decision from Summit: Good or Bad? 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
4. (S/NF) Sawers also noted UK concern that cross-straits 
tension might rise during the run-up to Taiwan's 
parliamentary elections in December.  The Tokyo reporting 
cable cites Sawers as saying that the UK was therefore 
"anxious to de-link the EU-China summit (also scheduled for 
December) from the arms embargo."  Asked if that meant the EU 
might lift the embargo well before the summit, Sawers said 
that a decision to lift the embargo could come either before 
or after the summit, depending on progress in the coming 
weeks.  The UK just hoped to avoid any potentially 
inflammatory direct linkage between the embargo and the 
summit.  Sawers noted that the decision to lift the embargo 
had already been postponed twice, so a third delay might be 
possible.  (NOTE: The Tokyo reporting cable commented that 
Sawers seemed to prefer a post-summit date for lifting the 
embargo.  END NOTE.) 
 
5. (S/NF) Tanaka asked Sawers whether the EU was really 
interested in lifting the embargo as a symbolic gesture or as 
a means to selling more arms to China.  Sawers said the UK 
had asked France and China the same questions, and both had 
responded that the motive was symbolic.  (NOTE:  Human Rights 
Watch received a different response from French PSC 
Ambassador Silvie Agnes-Berhman, who told HRW's Brussels 
Director in July that she could not discern whether Chirac's 
motives were symbolic or commercial, despite her best efforts 
to pulse Paris for information.  END NOTE.)  Tanaka responded 
that even if the EU saw lifting the embargo as strictly 
symbolic, it could still lead to increased arms and 
military-related sales to China.  He said Tokyo was 
particularly concerned about European dual-use transfers and 
the risk of onward proliferation if the embargo is lifted. 
Sawers suggested Tokyo should also argue its case in Paris, 
Berlin, The Hague and Rome.  He reported that of those EU 
Member States with outstanding human rights concerns, the UK, 
Denmark and Sweden were the loudest. 
 
6. (S/NF) On US opposition to lifting the ban, Sawers 
reportedly told Tanaka that "US claims are exaggerated," and 
"even the US understands it can't change things."  He 
suggested that in time, third parties opposed to lifting the 
embargo would recognize that their fears are unwarranted and 
would become more willing to engage in dialogue about 
post-embargo controls. 
 
Sammis 

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