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Cablegate: China Arms Embargo: Presidential Chief of Staff

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001288

SIPDIS

FOR EUR DAS CONLEY FROM THE AMBASSADOR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2014
TAGS: PARM PREL ETTC PHUM CH FI EUN
SUBJECT: CHINA ARMS EMBARGO: PRESIDENTIAL CHIEF OF STAFF
AGREES THAT CALL TO HALONEN WOULD BE WELL RECEIVED

REF: A. HELSINKI 1281

B. STATE 208511

Classified By: Ambassador Earle I. Mack for Reasons 1.4(B) and (D)

1. (C) I spoke today with Jaakko Kalela, President Halonen's
chief of staff. I noted news reports over the past few days
that a cache of weapons, mostly handguns, had been seized in
Finland. Just today Finnish customs officials have reported
that these weapons were transiting Finland, from China to
Estonia. I told Kalela that if the EU's China Arms Embargo
were lifted, with a consequent increase in the arms trade
with China, we might very well see more such incidents. I
also stressed the negative effect lifting the embargo would
have on regional stability in East Asia, especially if
tensions increase in the run-up to Taiwan's elections.
Lifting the embargo now would be seen as a validation of
China's human rights policy, or at least a sign that the EU
believes the policy is headed in the right direction.

2. (C) Kalela told me he agreed conceptually with the points
I had made. He said, however, that the Finns believe the
embargo has become outmoded, and something updated should
take its place. I replied that we do not believe the 1998
Code of Conduct is enforceable, and do not believe it could
be made effective. I underlined that lifting the embargo
would evoke a very negative reaction in the U.S., including
on the Hill. Kalela assured me he does not want to see a
strain of that sort in the trans-Atlantic relationship. In
any case, he said, he did not think any substantive action
would take place at the upcoming GAERC meeting. He assumes
the Ministers will defer this for later action.

3. (C) I mentioned my conversation with Under Secretary
Laajava (Ref A); Kalela said he was aware of it. I used that
opportunity to mention that Laajava had suggested a call from
the Secretary to President Halonen may help make the case for
retaining the embargo. I asked Kalela for his advice
regarding such a call. I said we would not want to embarrass
President Halonen by putting her in a position where she
would be uncomfortable with the call. Kalela in response was
a bit more positive than Laajava, who had been a touch
guarded about the merits of such a call. Kalela said he
thought a call from the Secretary would be well received,
although -- like Laajava -- he did not want to guarantee that
it would change Finnish views.

4. (C) We still have the sense that the Finns would prefer to
see the embargo lifted, but would not take the lead for doing
so. There have been times in the past, however (such as the
ICC debate in 2002), when they have been strong advocates
within the EU for working with the U.S. to find an outcome
acceptable to all. It might be worthwhile for the Secretary
to telephone Tarja Halonen and ask for her assistance in this
case.
MACK

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