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E.U. WON'T NECESSARILY LIFT ARMS EMBARGO AGAINST CHINA IN 2005: ROC REP

2004-12-10 15:15:17

    Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) The European Union will not necessarily lift its arms embargo against China in the first half of next year, Taiwan's representative to France said Friday.

    Chiou Jong-nan, who has returned to Taiwan for consultations, made the remarks one day after Michel Lu, a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the ministry would not rule out the possibility that the E.U. will lift its 15-year ban on arms sales to China.

    Chiou said China's aspiration that the ban can be lifted by June next year "will not be easy" to achieve.

    Chiou noted that it was French President Jacques Chirac who first broached the idea of lifting the ban but that this is not only an issue between France and China. Noting that the European Union makes decisions based on consensus, Chiou said that currently, the Central and East European members, and other members who uphold the ideals of freedom and human rights are not in favor of lifting the ban.

    He also said that since France proposed the lifting of the ban, his representative office has exhausted every channel to let France know Taiwan's stance on the issue, adding that the French side has also conveyed its concerns and position to Taiwan.

    Taiwan tried to let Paris know that the human rights situation in mainland China has yet to improve and that if the E.U. were to lift its arms embargo now, it would send a message that the E.U. would approve of China using force against Taiwan under certain circumstances, which he said would definitely affect security in the Asia-Pacific region.

    France also explained that the lifting of the arms embargo ban will be a political decision based on its global strategic considerations and is part of a long-term goal to establish a strategic partnership relation with China.

    The E.U. imposed the ban on arms sales to China over human rights concerns shortly after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

(By Lilian Wu)

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