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Author`s name Ольга Савка

US allies help rearm China

European states, in their turn, are trying to find a faster way to lift embargoes on arms deliveries to China

Aside from other goals, US President George W. Bush is going to use his visit to Europe in order to find support in restraining China. China's defense power is growing before our very eyes – the USA decided not to hesitate anymore and start acting.

Bush traveled to Europe after the USA and Japan announced Taiwan “the common security question.” Both Washington and Tokyo fear that China might attack the island, if the latter proclaims its absolute independence. In addition, the USA and Japan called upon the Chinese administration to add more transparency to their defense matters.

European states, in their turn, are trying to find a faster way to lift embargoes on arms deliveries to China. The USA believes, however, that such a step can break a military balance in the region. The White House and the Pentagon fear that the Chinese will be able to access high-tech defense systems. It would subsequently hinder the USA's possible interference in the Taiwanese issue, if there could be a need in that.

Richard Fisher, deputy chairman of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, told AFP that the USA and Japan were conducting serious preparations to a real war over Taiwan. Fisher strongly criticized European leaders' intention to take such steps, which would help the Chinese dictatorship destroy the Taiwanese democracy.

The expert believes that European companies have already been involved in China's military modernization, despite the embargo. The lifting of embargo will only exacerbate the current cooperation. The British company Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd tries to give more opportunities to China to struggle with enemy's satellites; they outfit Chinese JH-7A bomber planes with Rolls Royce turbo-reactive engines. Eurocopter is working on the creation of military and transportation Chinese helicopters. German diesel engines are used for invisible Chinese submarines of the Song class. Fisher believes that China could successively use submarines and battleships to blockade Taiwan from the sea.

American analysts believe that the lifting of the European embargo will give a powerful incentive to the development of the Chinese Armed Forces. Ellis Joffee, an Israeli expert on the Chinese army, shares the opinion. Joffee, however, thinks that it is Russia, which plays the most important role in the Chinese military modernization. If the embargo is withdrawn, China is not likely to start buying up European arms, although the mutual cooperation will definitely be increased, the expert thinks.

Bush is going to convince his European partners that the “Chinese danger” is growing. The Pentagon is currently preparing a report about estimations of the US defense policy – The Quadrennial Defense Review. China's strengthening of its defense power will become a subject of a profound analysis in the report, which is slated to be issued in autumn.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director Porter Goss and the Defence Intelligence Agency chairman, Lowell Jacoby, issued a special warning regarding the situation with China. They particularly said that China was increasing the number of Taiwan-aimed missiles and the defense spending.

When Bush took the office, he did not treat China as a superpower. The attitude is currently changing, though. The US President promised in 2001 that the US administration would view China as a “strategic partner.” The USA was later involved in the war against international terrorism, which reduced the anti-Chinese criticism. China could become an ally in the war on terror; it could also play a positive role in the regulation of the North Korean problem.

George W. Bush will obviously pay more attention to China during his second term in the office. Republican Senator Susan Collins, a member of the US Armed Services Committee, reminded Rumsfeld that the Chinese Navy would outnumber the US Navy within only ten years. Needless to say that the USA is very busy with Iraq and the international terrorism issue. The White House probably fears to lose the sight of China – that is why it decided to stop its military modernization.