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China condemns arms embargo interference
By Hu Xiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-16 23:35

China yesterday criticized US and Japanese opposition to the lifting of the European Union (EU)'s arms embargo as "unreasonable and unnecessary," saying it hoped the ban would soon be removed.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao addresses the media at a press conference in Beijing, June 16, 2005. [fmprc.gov.cn] 

"We believe that on the question of lifting the arms embargo, the Chinese side, and especially the EU side, have indeed been (recipients) of unreasonable and unnecessary disturbances," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

On the question of the dispute between the US and Israel over the Middle East state's sale of arms to China, Liu stressed that China attaches importance to ties with Israel. Both sides should overcome outside disturbance when developing normal bilateral ties, he said.

Liu hinted that Washington should not make wanton remarks or interfere with the development of normal relations between China and other countries.

"The arrangement between the EU and China to lift the embargo is not directed against any third country, or aimed at undermining the interests of any third party. Therefore, to stand in the way is totally unnecessary and unreasonable," Liu said.

Fance and Germany have been leading calls to end the ban, but the EU has scrapped its end-of-June target date for ending the embargo, and did not set any new deadline at a meeting of the 25-nation bloc's foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn admitted on Wednesday that the EU is under pressure from the US and Japan not to lift the embargo.

But he said he believed the EU and China could find a solution to the issue.

"We hope the EU will make good their promise and lift the embargo as soon as possible," Liu said.

"This will remove a major barrier and be beneficial to the furtherance of relations."

Two months ago, Washington imposed a series of sanctions on Israel's defence industry following a weapons deal in which Israel was reported to have agreed to upgrade a consignment of drones it had sold to China.

Israel backtracked on a deal to sell the Phalcon advanced airborne radar system to China nearly 18 months ago.

A deal for a sophisticated surveillance system was aborted in 2001 because of pressure from the US.

(China Daily 06/17/2005 page2)

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