EU maintains China weapons embargo
8 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The European Union's weapons embargo against China will temporarily remain in force, it was announced after a summit held in The Hague on Wednesday.
8 December 2004
AMSTERDAM — The European Union's weapons embargo against China will temporarily remain in force, it was announced after a summit held in The Hague on Wednesday.
But the joint final statement from the EU and China said the union would work towards lifting the ban. No time frame was given.
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao described the outcome as a "positive signal" and said he hoped the embargo would soon be lifted. He described the embargo as political discrimination and a relic of the Cold War.
The weapons embargo was introduced after Chinese forces violently put an end to student demonstrations in Tianamen Square in 1989. French and Germany have been the most vocal supporters of having it lifted.
Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said Wednesday the Netherlands was also working towards lifting the weapons export ban. He is hoping the embargo can be ended next year.
EU sources have indicated that the other countries which might lean towards ending the ban include Spain and Italy, while Britain and Sweden could also be convinced. The Nordic states remain the most vocal opponents.
And currently serving as EU President, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Wednesday the EU is willing to work towards lifting the embargo, but that this is based on an alteration of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Export. "We are currently working on that," he said.
"I understand that China sees this as a political signal and that the intention is not to purchase weapons in Europe on a large scale. Naturally, that is important for us — in view of regional stability as well," Balkenende said.
"I am very satisfied with the straightforward conversation which we had on this. That also holds for the issue of human rights. The talks were characterised by an open and constructive stance by both parties."
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news