A senior Chinese diplomat on Tuesday called for early resolution of the issues concerning the arms embargo of the European Union (EU) against China and China's market economy status.
"Arms embargo against China, along with the market economy status issue, in essence, are symbols of political prejudice and inequality," Hua Chunying, counsellor of the Department of European Affairs at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"To further the China-EU relations, we need to build up real trust between us and get rid of the cold-war mentality," Hua said at a forum on China-EU relations titled "Europe and China: Rivals or Strategic Partners?"
China has been waiting for the lifting of the embargo for many years, she said.
"We have been very patient, and we could be even more patient. But early resolution of the two issues might be a small step towards resolving many issues in China-EU relations," said Hua.
"We are living in a globalized world and China and Europe are so interdependent with each other. To further China-EU partnership is not a matter of choice but strategic necessities," she added.
While admitting that the EU has its own "limitations" in solving the issue, Hua said early resolution of the two issues will be "a major and significant step forward towards building up the real political trust we've been longing for."
"We need to build real trust, real strategic trust between the two sides," she said.
Meng Xiangqing, deputy director of Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, said China's intention of asking for the EU to lift the weapons ban had been widely misinterpreted in Europe.
"When we ask the EU to lift the arms embargo, some people tend to think that we are eager to buy more advanced weapons from Europe, but this is not true," said Meng at the forum.
The researcher said China's demand for resolution of the arms embargo issue is mainly driven by political reasons.
China has established its own national defense system mainly with weapons as a result of its own research and development, and the country's defense budget is limited, according to Meng.
"In the eyes of many of my colleagues, the arms ban is a purely political problem which embodies political discrimination and inequality," said Meng.
China attaches great importance to this, "because behind the political discrimination and inequality is whether there is strategic mutual trust between China and the EU," Meng said.
"I think this trust would surely affect the long-term development of China-EU relations," Meng added.