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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China policy has failed, EU think tank concludes

April 19, 2009

April 18, 2009 12:54]

RETHINK: An EU report suggested that Beijing had exploited divisions
in the union to escape criticism over a growing trade deficit and
other sensitive issues

BEIJING, Apr 18:The EU's policy toward China on everything from trade
to human rights has failed to achieve any progress and the bloc must
be tougher with Beijing but also offer strong inducements, an EU
think tank said.

The European Council on Foreign Relations said that Beijing actively
exploited divisions within the EU, which was happy to deal with China
as though it were a developing nation rather than the economic and
diplomatic powerhouse it has become.

"The strategy of unconditional engagement is no longer working. The
old approach has been rendered obsolete by China's power, its
skillful exploitation of European weaknesses and its refusal to
become a democracy," its report said.

The EU is China's biggest export market, but it also has a large and
growing trade deficit with China. That has caused further friction on
top of spats over Tibet, Taiwan and China's ties with countries like
Sudan and Myanmar.

Last year, China pulled out of a summit with EU leaders that France
was to host after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom China labels a dangerous
separatist, a charge he denies.

"The EU's China strategy is based on an anachronistic belief that
China, under the influence of European engagement, will liberalize
its economy, improve the rule of law and democratize its politics,"
the report said. "Yet ... China's foreign and domestic policy has
evolved in a way that has paid little heed to European values, and
today Beijing regularly contravenes or even undermines them."

And Beijing has become expert at using splits within the EU, for
example over Tibet, where member states have at times refused to back
each other's policies on the remote region, run by China since its
troops marched in in 1950.

"It treats its relationship with the EU as a game of chess, with 27
opponents crowding the other side of the board and squabbling about
which piece to move," the report said. "As irritating as Beijing
finds this at times, there is no question about who is in a position
to play the better game."

Yet the EU did have trump cards it could play to get Beijing to be a
more active global partner on issues including Iran's nuclear program
and climate change.

The EU's long-standing arms embargo, put in place after China's
bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989, could be
lifted in exchange for stronger sanctions on Iran, the report
recommended. China could also be offered key energy-efficient and
renewable technologies in return for specific targets on emissions, it said.

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