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China Expects Early Lift of EU Arms Embargo: FM

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a regular press conference on Thursday that the European Union's 15-year-old arms embargo does not reflect the development of relations between China and EU members.


Calling the embargo "a decision made in the Cold War mentality," she said that China urges the EU to "make an early and correct decision."


Premier Wen Jiabao will visit the Netherlands from December 7 to 9 to attend the Seventh China-EU Leaders' Meeting in The Hague.


Also attending the conference will be Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands, which holds the rotating EU presidency; European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso; and Javier Solana, secretary general of the EU Council and representative for the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.


"Premier Wen will address the quick lifting of the arms embargo with EU leaders," said Zhang.


She said China firmly opposes linking the ban to human rights issues.


"It is a very serious political issue," she said. "It is connected with political principle and it is not for the Chinese side to make any concessions."


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing exchanged views with Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot and EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner by phone yesterday.


Turning to UN reform, Zhang said China supports the reform and expansion of the United Nations Security Council and suggests it build up its function as a representative, especially of developing countries.


On November 30, a high-level UN panel submitted a report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, offering 101 recommendations on ways to reform the organization.


"Any reform scenario should be discussed by the UN members in a democratic manner so that consensus can be reached," said Zhang.


Zhang said China firmly opposes the United States' frequent imposition of sanctions against some Chinese companies based on its domestic laws.


She was referring to the action announced on Thursday against four Chinese companies that the US alleges sold weapons of mass destruction or related technologies to Iran.


"China strongly opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related means of delivery," Zhang said, adding that China has established an integral system of laws on nonproliferation-related export controls.


If valid evidence is found to prove that Chinese companies or individuals have engaged in illegal exports, the country will impose penalties according to law, she said.


Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who is currently visiting the United States as a special envoy of the Chinese government, has met with senior US officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.


During the meetings, the parties also discussed the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Zhang said.


China has maintained its stance that the six-party talks are the most feasible way to resolve the issue, and the country encourages all parties to promote the process.


Zhang said China hopes Japan can appropriately deal with indiscreet criticism in Japan about halting yen loans to China, because it may undermine Sino-Japanese relations.


She said that yen loans to China are conducive to both countries.


The spokeswoman also stressed that China is fully capable of boosting its own economy and is also ready to cooperate with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.


Zhang announced that Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui will serve as China's special envoy at the inauguration of Afghanistan's first elected president, Hamid Karzai, on December 7.


"We hope the Afghan people can smoothly fulfill the historic mission of national reconstruction under the leadership of President Karzai," she said.


(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency and CRI.com December 3, 2004)

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