Greens say ‘no’to China nuke sale
3 December 2003
BERLIN – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s bid to lift a European Union arms embargo on China and to sell nuclear technology to Beijing received a sharp rebuke Wednesday from a top member of his Greens coalition partner.
Schroeder, who is visiting China, told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday that Berlin would push for lifting a European Union embargo on arms sales to China imposed after the 1989 massacre of pro- democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Germany is the second major EU country, after France, to urge the lifting of the embargo.
The Chancellor also expressed confidence that Germany’s Siemens concern would be able to sell China a mothballed nuclear fuel processing plant.
“It doesn’t look as if there is anything which would speak against this,” said Schroeder. The German government has been considering the sale since October.
But both of these moves were strongly criticized by a leading Greens member of parliament.
Winfried Nachtwei, the Greens defence policy spokesman, said selling arms and nuclear equipment to China would send out the “wrong signal” given Beijing’s “catastrophic” standards of human rights and its stance on Taiwan.
Nuclear exports needed to be strictly controlled given obligations to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, added Nachtwei in a Bayerische Rundfunk radio interview.
The Greens played a major role in Germany’s decision to close down all its own nuclear power stations and Nachtwei noted that selling such equipment to China would be a blatant contradiction to this policy.
Nachtwei warned if Schroeder went ahead with these plans he would face “considerable conflict” with the Greens which serve as junior partner with the Chancellor’s Social Democrats (SPD).
Schroeder rules with only a slim majority in parliament’s lower chamber, the Bundestag, and needs votes of the Greens to stay in power.
Subject: German news