Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Ministry to work to keep EU's arms ban on China

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned yesterday that the EU may lift its arms embargo on China and pledged to work closer with countries such as Japan and the Philippines to stop the ban from being lifted.

Although the EU decided to maintain its 15-year-old embargo during a summit with Chinese officials in The Hague on Wednesday, ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) told a press conference that it is possible the EU will lift the ban next year.

"We have to pay close attention to the matter. Lifting the arms embargo will have a huge impact on our national interest ... The US also strongly opposes it," he said.

Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸), chairperson of the ministry's Research and Planning Committee, said the nation should do more to exert pressure on the EU.

"We should study the possible impact on East Asia if the EU sells advanced weapons to China," she said.

Yang said intelligence sources have also indicated that China is preparing to sabotage Taiwan's efforts to promote tourism.

The government has set a goal of doubling the number of foreign tourists by 2008.

"China is seeking opportunities to tarnish Taiwan's image and portray the country as an area that is not good for travel. It also attempts to hurt the morale of our tourism officials working overseas," Yang said.

Beijing has also tried to cause trouble for Taiwanese travel agencies working on the government's tourism plan. Yang said the travel agencies should be mentally prepared for such maneuvers.

Yang, however, declined to reveal where the ministry obtained the intelligence and would not offer examples of China's oppression of tourism efforts.

Also see story:

EU holds out hope of end to arms ban

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