Some EU member states have recently considered lifting the embargo. The former French President Jacques Chirac, who believed that it was an archaic embargo that does not reflect present geopolitical realities, strongly supported such a course of action. The United States fears that lifting the embargo will create a technology transfer that will increase the capabilities of the People's Liberation Army. The US has stated that it will protect Taiwan (ROC) if invaded by the PRC, so it fears that European arms would be used against the US if such a situations occurs.
Similarly, Japan has been at the forefront of lobbying efforts against any attempt to remove restrictions on arm sales to Beijing. Japan's government, particularly hard line members of the government cabinet, fear that any such move will alter the balance of power in South east Asia strongly in favour of China at Japan's expense.
On March 14, 2005, the PRC passed the Taiwan anti-secession bill, which was designed to thwart any potential moves on the part of Taiwan for independence. In reaction, Britain's foreign secretary Jack Straw stated on May 20, 2005 that the process to lift the embargo was becoming "more difficult" as a result of China's lack of human rights progress as well as the new anti-secession bill.
Many other EU heads of state have objected to the embargo's cancellation, or at the very least supported its continued existence in the immediate future. Angela Merkel has indicated her opposition to a lifting of the embargo, whereas her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, had been in favour. Jacques Chirac's term expired in 2007, thus it is difficult to tell which member state will push for lifting the embargo in the future.
The European Parliament has consistently argued against removing the embargo. Though it cannot block a removal of the embargo, the Parliament is the only directly elected European institution, and thus it argues only it can claim to represent the European people.
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