Japan's arms claims 'ungrounded' - FM

By Dong Zhixin (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2007-01-11 16:15

The Japanese concerns on the lifting of the European Union's arms embargo on China is unreasonable and ungrounded, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao invites questions at a regular press conference in Beijing. [newsphoto/file]
China's demand to end the ban aimed to get rid of the political discrimination, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao at a regular news conference, urging the EU to follow the historical trends and call an end to the arms sales ban.

The Sino-Japanese ties are at a new starting point, according to the spokesman while calling on both sides to make efforts to improve bilateral ties.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday urged the EU to keep its embargo on arms sales to China, saying the purpose behind Beijing's growing defence spending was unclear.

"We are concerned about the implications that a lifting of the arms embargo would have on the security of East Asia," the Reuters quoted Abe as saying in a joint conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose government holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU.

EU was working to lift the arms embargo on China, European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso told a press conference after he met with Abe, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

But the decision was to be made by the EU member states and the lifting was not 'imminent', Barroso reportedly said.

On US President George W. Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, Liu Jianchao expressed China's hope that Iraq can gain stability and the Iraqi people can lead a peaceful life at an early date.

But the key to a peaceful Iraq lied in "Iraqis governing Iraq" and reconciliation, said the spokesman.

Liu warned the United States not to meddle in China's trade relations with Iran after Washington expressed concern about a Chinese oil company's planned investment in an Iranian gas field, said an Associated Press report on Thursday.

"We think this kind of cooperation and relationship is legitimate. Normal cooperation should not be interfered (with)," the report cited Liu as saying.

Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd was reported to plan an investment in Iran's Northern Pars gas field. The company's spokesman Liu Junshan said Thursday the company was still in talks with the Iranian side to develop the gas field and to help build liquefied natural gas facilities, according to the AP report.

Liu said no agreement had yet been signed, and declined to estimate the project's value.

Commenting on a US-proposed UN resolution on Myanmar, Liu said China is "resolutely" opposed to the intervention of the UN Security Council in Myanmar.

The US introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling Myanmar's policies a serious risk to regional peace and urged its government to immediately free all political prisoners.

"We believe the Myanmar question is a purely internal affair of Myanmar," Liu said. "The situation there does not pose any threat to regional and international peace and security, so China is firmly against the interference of the UN Security Council."

Neighboring countries of Myanmar and some non-aligned countries hold identical views, he said.

Liu said constructive help is needed to solve the Myanmar issue.

The international community should support the special envoys of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UN Secretary-General in mediation efforts, and encourage the government of Myanmar to continue its cooperation with the international community.

Liu urged concerned nations to act discreetly and responsibly to avoid further complicating the situation in Myanmar.

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