Full Coverages>China>Chirac Visits China

Chirac in town, calls for end to arms embargo
Updated: 2004-10-09 16:30

French President Jacques Chirac was visiting China on Saturday after issuing a call for the European Union to lift a ban on arms sales to Beijing.

Chirac, who was hoping to promote commercial ties with China's fast-growing economy, planned to meet Saturday with President Hu Jintao and hold a joint news conference.

Chirac arrived in China late Friday in the southwestern city of Chengdu, where he was touring a French-Chinese joint venture jet engine factory before flying to Beijing.

Before leaving Paris, Chirac said that France regarded the EU arms embargo as outdated and wanted it lifted ``as soon as possible.''

Chirac told Xinhua News Agency in an interview that he would lobby for French participation in a high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai. French engineering giant Alstom is hoping China will choose its high-speed TGV trains for the project.

His appeal for the 25-nation European Union to lift its arms embargo came as US diplomats were lobbying for it to continue.

Germany has joined France in calling for an end to the ban.

It is Chirac's third visit to China, following trips in 1997 and 2000.

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