China calls on EU to remove political obstacles

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Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying on Thursday called on the European Union to remove major political obstacles in bilateral relations by lifting its arms embargo on China and recognize China's market economy status.

Speaking to reporters after the second round of China-EU strategic dialogue, Fu said that the change of EU's stand to lift its arms embargo on China and to recognize China's market economy status at an early date will be a question of political judgment, and "a question of promoting mutual trust."

"If we can get rid of the obstacles, we'll be able to march forward rapidly," she said, referring to the long-standing EU's arm embargo on China and its reluctance to recognize China's market economy status.

When asked about major obstacles for the disputes between China and the EU, David O'Sullivan, Chief operating Officer of the European External Action Service, admitted the dispute over the arms embargo on China is "a known debate."

O'Sullivan declined to discuss the issue in detail, saying "We have exchanged view on this issue very frequently."

On the recognition of China's market economy status, the high- ranking EU official said that the EU has "very strict criteria" about the recognition.

"It's, in fact, a rather technical issue....Globally we can only recognize the market economy status when certain criteria are met."

The EU has been in dialogue with China for many years over the issue. "There are progresses in meeting the criteria," O'Sullivan said.

Van Rompuy will pay a five-day visit to China starting from Sunday. The visit is his first official visit to China since he became president of the European Council in November 2009.

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