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British Foreign Secretary to visit China
Updated: 2005-01-14 00:15

The European Union's arms embargo on China will be on the agenda when British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw visits Beijing later this month, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

Straw's trip will take place Jan. 20-21, ministry spokesman Kong Quan said at a regular briefing.

"The topics that will be covered will of course include the arms embargo," Kong said. He did not give further details.

Straw said Wednesday that he expected the ban to be lifted during Luxembourg's six-month turn as EU president, which lasts until the end of June.

Germany and France, eager to sell to China's military, have led the calls for lifting the ban, contending that China's human rights record has improved.

Other nations, such as Sweden and Ireland, oppose ending the embargo. They say they want the EU's "code of conduct"to be tightened, to act as a stronger safety net if arms sales resume.

The code forces member nations to ensure the weapons they sell are not used for internal repression, external aggression or where serious human rights violations have occurred.

Straw said the code would prevent arms from flooding into China if the ban was lifted.

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