U.S. considers renewing arms sales to China

May 17, 1991|By Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- The White House, already under fire for proposing to renew China's favorable trade status despite meager human rights reforms, is considering renewing arms sales to win influence with Chinese leaders, a senior administration official says.

The idea of renewing the sales, which were cut off after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, is bound to be controversial, especially since the Bush administration has criticized Beijing for selling weapons to countries such as Pakistan.

But the administration official, speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity, said resuming arms sales is a more effective way to improve relations with Beijing than threatening to withhold favorable trade status.

"MFN ought to be considered on its own merits," the official said, referring to most-favored-nation trading status.

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