China arms embargo to stay in 2005: Buetikofer

7th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2005, BERLIN - A leader of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's junior coalition partner said on Thursday there was no chance of the European Union agreeing to lift its arms embargo on China in 2005.

7 April 2005

BERLIN - A leader of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's junior coalition partner said on Thursday there was no chance of the European Union agreeing to lift its arms embargo on China in 2005.

"It's dead at least for this year," Reinhard Buetikofer, co-leader of the Greens, said in a Lausitzer Rundschau newspaper interview.

Chancellor Schroeder is a firm backer of lifting the arms embargo on China, imposed by the EU after Beijing's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 1989.

All 25 EU states would have to agree unanimously to remove the embargo, but this seems doubtful given alarm over a law approved in China last month authorising the use of force against Taiwan if the island seeks to win full independence.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

The EU, led by Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac, had previously indicated they hoped to lift the ban at their Brussels summit in June this year.

Buetikofer and the Green party oppose lifting the arms embargo due to concerns over China's treatment of minorities and frequent use of the death penalty.

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, also of the Green party, says he too is "sceptical" about selling weapons to China and that he backs the party line.

This means Schroeder would be unable to win a majority in parliament for lifting the embargo.

But the Chancellor says he does not need Bundestag approval given that Germany's constitution gives him the exclusive right to make foreign policy.

DPA

Subject: German news

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