Fri, Dec 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EU unlikely to lift China arms embargo

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The EU is unlikely to lift its arms embargo against China at the EU Summit that is to be held next week, since China has not shown an overall improvement in its human rights record, a member of the European Parliament (EP) said yesterday.

Bastiann Belder, a member of the EP who arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday for a four-day visit, said yesterday that he did not think the EU would lift the arms embargo on China in the near future.

"There has been an indication that the arms embargo on China will be lifted shortly. However, in 2005 China legislated the `Anti-Secession' Law that [legitimised] the use of non-peaceful means to deal with Taiwan issue. What the Chinese Communist Party did was to shoot [itself in the foot]," Belder said at a conference hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday.

"Besides, China has been paying lip service to the issue of human rights," he said.

Sung Wen-cheng (宋文城), deputy director of the MOFA's Department of European Affairs, also said in a regular press briefing yesterday that the ministry did not think the EU would lift the arms embargo any time soon.

"[Unless] China improves its human rights record substantially, our take is that the EU will not lift the weapons embargo against China. Otherwise, the removal of the sanction would be regarded as an encouragement to China in terms of its crackdown on human rights," Sung said.

However, Sung noted that many European countries -- including France, Italy and Germany -- had sold US$480 million worth of technology and equipment for civilian and military use to China last year.

"Taiwan still needs to pay careful attention to this aspect as some of these countries are inclined to conduct weapons business with China," he said.

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