China yesterday urged the EU to lift a 17-year-old arms embargo as Premier Wen Jiabao prepared to attend a Europe-Asia summit in Finland next week.
"We hope the EU will make the political decision to lift the ban at an early date, because that will be conducive to the further growth of Chinese-EU relations," said Li Ruiyu, deputy director of the Department of European Affairs of the Foreign Ministry.
Wen's September 9-16 trip also includes stops in Britain and Germany as well as a meeting in SCO security group member Tajikistan.
Li said the arms sales embargo is not a new issue, but a "leftover of the Cold War and political discrimination."
While France and Germany agree with China's position, other EU members do not share this viewpoint
Li also appealed to the EU to recognize China's full market economy status and reduce anti-dumping complaints.
The EU is China's biggest trade partner, with the trade reaching US$121 billion in the first half of the year, a 20.9 percent rise year-on-year.
Li said trade conflicts are natural but they need to be "resolved through consultation on an equal footing."
During the September 10-11 ASEM summit in Helsinki, Wen plans to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the EU's chief foreign affairs official, Javier Solana, Li said.
He said the premier was expected to hold one-on-one meetings with other leaders but that the schedule had not been confirmed.
(China Daily September 7, 2006)