China hails France, Germany backing on ban end

24th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

BEIJING, March 24 (AFP) - China Thursday applauded France and Germany for backing the lifting of the European Union arms embargo and criticised countries opposed to the move as "unreasonable."

BEIJING, March 24 (AFP) - China Thursday applauded France and Germany for backing the lifting of the European Union arms embargo and criticised countries opposed to the move as "unreasonable."

"The leaders of France and Germany have been reiterating their stance on the lifting of the embargo, to this, we would like to show our appreciation," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday he still expected an agreement to lift the ban by the end of June, despite signs the 25-member EU bloc EU could delay its decision amid concerns over China's new anti-secession law.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said the law, which threatens the use of force against Taiwan should it declares formal independence, has "created quite a difficult political environment" for lifting the embargo.

Although Taiwan has had effective independence since splitting with China in 1949, Beijing considers the island an inalienable part of its territory, to be re-unified by force if necessary.

The United States is opposed to the ban being removed, arguing that it would send "the wrong signal" to China at such a tense time. It fears it could tilt the military balance in the Asia-Pacific.

US lawmakers have threatened to levy punitive trade sanctions on European companies if the EU goes ahead with the move.

"Some countries have created excuses to block the EU's lifting of the embargo on China, this is unreasonable and China is firmly against it," Liu said.

"We hope these countries will stop doing this. We also believe that the ending of the embargo won't harm Sino-US relations," he said.

China considers the ban imposed after its bloody crushing of democracy protesters in 1989 outdated and wants it removed to bolster its reputation on the world stage.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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