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2004-01-27 11:56:52

    London, Jan. 27 (CNA) The London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Monday that a French attempt to lift the European Union arms embargo against mainland China has been rejected by foreign affairs ministers of EU member states amid concern over Beijing's human rights record and belligerent attitude toward Taiwan.

    According to the British daily, French President Jacques Chirac has led the drive to ease sanctions imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre of students in 1989 with an aim to benefit from mainland China's economic growth and draw Asia's rising power into strategic "multipolar" alliance with the EU to counter American hegemony.

    But an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed by a vote of 14-1 on Sunday that mainland China's deployment of up to 650 missiles in a war of nerves against Taiwan made it a hazardous moment to lift the arms boycott, the Daily Telegraph report said.

    The decision is a blow to Beijing, which has been seeking a strategic partnership with the 15-member EU to obtain high-technology weaponry, the report said.

    The hard line from Brussels came as Chirac welcomed mainland Chinese President Hu Jintao for a four-day state visit, the report said.

(By N. K. Han and Sofia Wu)


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