Schroder Seeks End to China Arms Ban
Castle, Stephen, The Independent (London, England)
THE 15-year EU arms embargo on China is to continue at least into next year, despite a call yesterday from the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder for the ban to be lifted.
At a summit tomorrow, EU leaders will tell China there has been insufficient progress on human rights and other issues to permit an immediate end to restrictions. But Mr Schroder's intervention highlights the growing consensus within the EU that the ban, imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, is outdated.
In Beijing, where the Chinese government signed contracts worth EUR1.6bn (pounds 1.1bn) to buy 23 European Airbus jetliners, Mr Schroder said he had called before for an end to the ban on weapons sales, and added: "My opinion hasn't changed." France has led the call for an end to the ban which, it says, places China among pariah states such as North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe. Paris says that, with the EU normalising relations with countries such as Libya, and most European countries trying to build commercial relations with Beijing, the embargo should be scrapped. …