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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China asks EU to lift arms embargo

January 30, 2010

January 29, 2010

Dharamsala - China urged the European Union on
Thursday to lift its arms embargo calling it "a
political prejudice against China." The weapons
embargo is a form of political discrimination,
the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"The discrimination does not go along with the
current world trend and the development of a
comprehensive strategic partnership between China
and the EU. We hope the EU can make the political
decision as soon as possible, immediately,
unconditionally, and completely remove the arms
embargo against China, so as to remove obstacles
in the way of China-EU relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Spain which holds the rotating EU presidency said
it was reconsidering the ban. Spanish Foreign
Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Tuesday that
his country was 'weighing the pros and cons' of the embargo.

Moratinos also indicated the possibility that the
arms sale embargo imposed on China 21 years ago
could end following a meeting of EU foreign
ministers, reported on Wednesday.

Europe's ban on arms sales to China was
introduced following the Chinese government's
massive crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at the Tiananmen Square in 1989.

France has been one of the main supporters of
lifting the embargo and 'Spain is following that
line,' Mr Moratinos said Tuesday.

In 2008, the European parliament voted to retain
the arms embargo as long as Beijing helped armed
forces and groups involved in African conflicts.

In late 2004, EU leaders openly promised China
that the ban would be lifted but the United
States voiced opposition and warned in early 2005
that it would take actions against Europe if the
promise was fulfilled. The European parliament
voted to renew the arms embargo in 2008.
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