Reviewing the EU-China Foreign Affairs: The case study of the EU arms embargo on China

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för öst- och sydöstasienstudier

Abstract: The thesis analyses the EU arms embargo on China and the reasons why this sanction is in place since 1989. The arms embargo case characterizes the EU-China foreign relations also in general and in order to understand the real background behind this case, historical institutionalist perspective and path dependence theory is used. The thesis acknowledges two different paradigms – normative power and security –, which are the two possible options justifying the existence of the ban. The study observes these paradigms closer and uses interviews with the Chinese and European experts, official documents and opinions of other researchers in order to come to a result of which paradigm is more prevalent in this issue. The thesis concluded that the EU arms embargo on China used to be justified more by the normative power paradigm and worry about the human rights, but it has gradually become a security paradigm, especially after 2005, when the EU had almost decided to lift the arms sales ban, but the US advised not to. At the end the thesis elaborates in which conditions the embargo could become abolished and the conclusion was that it depends on the political alliances, the gains and political risk at stake.

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