Mon, Dec 22, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Extended EU arms embargo welcomed

CROSS-STRAIT SECURITY The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its appreciation for the European Parliament's decision to maintain limitations on arms sales to China

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has thanked the European Parliament for encouraging security across the Taiwan Strait by maintaining its embargo on arms sales to China.

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution by an overwhelming majority urging the European Council and member states to maintain the embargo and not jeopardize the existing national limitations on arms sales.

The resolution was adopted with 373 votes in favor, 32 against and 29 abstentions.

The ministry "believes that this resolution carries special security and political implications for both the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region," it said in a statement.

The ministry has also thanked the European Parliament "for upholding its position that resolution of the Taiwan Strait security issue should be through peaceful means."

The EU imposed the embargo after the Beijing authorities used armed force against pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The ministry said it believes the resolution adopted by the European Parliament has three major consequences.

First, it said, consensus has been established in the international community that issues relating to the Taiwan Strait should be resolved peacefully and through dialogue.

"It is hoped that the Beijing authorities can heed the global request that China withdraw its missiles deployed in the coastal provinces along the Taiwan Strait," the ministry said.

Second, the ministry continued, the EU has come to understand that China's military threat to Taiwan has seriously affected security both across the Taiwan Strait and in neighboring regions.

"In view of the Chinese threat against Taiwan, it is the wrong time to open the way to lifting the EU arms embargo," the ministry said.

Third, China needs to improve its human rights record and promote the rule of law in accordance with the trend in the international community, the ministry said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) said he hopes the EU member states will appreciate the trend in European public opinion towards actively promoting and consolidating their relations with Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the ministry also expressed appreciation for the Dutch parliament's passage of a resolution in support of the EU arms sales embargo against China, as well as a resolution on loosening visa restrictions on high-ranking Taiwanese officials.

The ministry said it believed the resolutions passed by the European Parliament and the Dutch will substantively boost Taiwan's relations with the EU.

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