EU urged to lift arms embargo on China
China called on the European Union Thursday to lift a 15-year-old arms embargo as soon as possible.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a regular press conference that the embargo does not reflect the development of relations between China and EU members.
She called the embargo "a decision made in the Cold War mentality," and urged the EU to "make an early and correct decision."
Premier Wen Jiabao is going to the Netherlands to attend the seventh China-EU Summit on Wednesday, "Wen will address the quick lifting of the arms embargo with EU leaders," Zhang said.
She said China is firmly against tying the lifting of the ban to human rights issues.
"The remarkable progress China has made in the human rights field over the years is for all to see," she said.
Zhang said China and the EU have held 17 human rights dialogues with fruitful achievements.
The two sides can solve their divergence in this area through dialogue, she said.
"It is a very serious political issue," she said.
"It has something to do with political principle and it is not for the Chinese side to make any concessions," she added.
Zhang said it is the time to completely solve the issue and she hoped that the EU will make decision that will promote relations and co-operation between the two sides.
She said China hopes the EU will move with the overall needs of the China-EU relationship in mind and work towards further development in that field.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot hinted last month that the EU may be ready to move in that direction during the seventh China-EU summit to be held in the Hague next Wednesday while the Netherlands holds the EU's rotating presidency.
Dai visits United States
Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who is currently visiting the United State as a special envoy of the Chinese Government, has met with senior US officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Zhang said besides China-US relations, the two sides have also talked about the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue.
Zhang said China has been making positive efforts towards the early opening of the next round of six-party talks and called on all parties to show "sincerity and flexibility."
Visit to Afghanistan
The Chinese Government will send Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui as its special envoy to attend the inauguration of Afghanistan's first-elected president Hamid Karzai next Tuesday, Zhang said.
China attached great importance to its ties with Afghanistan, she said.
"We hope the Afghan people can smoothly fulfill the historic
mission of national reconstruction under the leadership of President Karzai."