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EU urged to lift 'outdated' arms embargo
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-22 23:14

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Tuesday urged the EU to make the decision to lift the embargo on arms sales to China as soon as possible.

"The arms embargo is political discrimination and is outdated," said Liu.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. [fmprc.gov.cn]
"We hope that the EU can make a political decision to lift the ban at an early date so as to create a nice atmosphere for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the political relationship between China and the EU."

He said the decision would also create good conditions for the development of friendly and co-operative relations between the two parties.

It has been reported that the EU planned to lift the ban by the end of June, but is likely to delay the plan after some people trying to link it to China's passing of the Anti-Secession Law this month.

"There is no connection between China pushing the EU to lift the arms embargo and China passing the Anti-Secession Law," Liu added.

He said it is unreasonable to link the two matters.

The Anti-Secession Law was aimed at containing Taiwan secessionist forces and at peaceful reunification, while lifting the ban would eliminate political discrimination, he said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said lifting the arms embargo has become more difficult since the passing of the Anti-Secession Law.

There are reports about the United States putting pressure on the EU. The United States claims lifting the ban might alter the military balance in the region. But China has repeatedly stressed that the lifting will neither break a strategic balance nor will it lead to China's rush to purchase arms.

Moscow shoes affair

The spokesman also called Tuesday for an objective view of non-governmental trade between China and Russia.

Liu said the Chinese Government has attached great importance to Chinese footwear makers whose shoes, worth some 80 million yuan (US$9.7 million), were confiscated by police in Moscow in the absence of necessary documents.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese embassy in Moscow have intervened in the matter, which is "quite complicated."

Liu said enterprises from both countries should conduct business according to the rule of law.

Liu said "grey customs clearance" has a negative impact on normal trade between China and Russia.

He said China hoped to work with Russia to regulate non-governmental trade through friendly negotiations in an effort to push forward healthy trade development between the two countries.

He urged Russia to step up efforts to crack down on domestic companies conducting illegal customs clearance.

He also asked Chinese enterprises to conduct business legally, saying they must make the proper declarations at Russian customs, and fulfill necessary document regulations.

Liu said statistics indicate that annual bilateral trade has significantly increased in the past few years. The figure reached a milestone US$21.2 billion last year.

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