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Fischer warns of US-China confrontation

EU Observer | April 19 2005

German foreign minister Joschka Fischer has warned of a possible confrontation between the US and China.

The aspiring world power should be held in check by a "policy of containment", the minister said in an interview with Handelsblatt.

"The dependence is so big, that by confrontation there would no longer be a winner", he said.

The big challenge, according to Joschka Fischer, is to integrate emerging world powers such as China and India into the international state system, in order to prevent any armed clashes.

Chinese relations were also on the agenda when EU foreign ministers met informally on Friday (15 April) in Luxembourg.

The ministers considered lifting a 15-year old embargo on arms sales to China, but admitted that the move is unlikley to happen for another year due to a lack of agreement in the EU.

"It is quite obvious, that there is no consensus", Luxembourg’s foreign minister and chairman of the meeting, Jean Asselborn, said, according to FAZ.

The delay comes as a blow to Chinese diplomats, who were told that the EU would lift the ban at an EU-China summit in The Hague last December.

In the meantime, however, China passed a law allowing it to use force against Taiwan if the island makes a bid for independence.

A large number of countries also denounced China's lack of progress on human rights at the Luxembourg meeting.

The US is strongly opposed to lifting the embargo, fearing US weapons technology would fall into Chinese hands.

US defence officials last week indicated that Israel's involvement in the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the biggest warplane program in history, would be curbed due to Israel’s arms trade with China.