Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Apr 16, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
International
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

International Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

E.U. delays lifting arms ban on China

David Gow

Schroeder for lifting embargo

BRUSSELS: The E.U. will postpone a plan to lift its arms embargo on China until at least next year and demand reciprocal moves first by Beijing to improve human rights and seek a peaceful solution of its dispute with Taiwan, it emerged on Thursday night.

The move follows a robust demand on Thursday from Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister and leading Green, that China ``move'' on issues such as the death penalty and imprisonment for dissidents before the E.U. could be expected to reach a consensus on lifting the embargo.

Mr. Fischer, assailed by Opposition leaders for effectively handing over foreign policy to Gerhard Schroeder, publicly broke with the German Chancellor who reiterated his demand in the Bundestag for lifting the ``expendable'' embargo which he dubbed a ``symbolic relic.''

Mr. Schroeder, facing the threat of a split in his red-green coalition on the issue, said lifting the embargo would boost Europe's influence — and trade — with China. But Mr. Fischer said China would, inter alia, have to ratify a convention on human rights first.

Unanimous decision

The E.U. needs a unanimous decision by all 25 members to lift the embargo, and Foreign Ministers, meeting informally in Luxembourg, will agree that this is impossible this year given widespread distaste for China's human rights record.

Sources said Luxembourg, current holder of the E.U. presidency, had already accepted that it would be unable to reach the initially foreseen consensus for raising the embargo in late May, while Britain would refuse to put the issue on the agenda.

The European Parliament added its voice in favour of the E.U. staying its hand, voting overwhelmingly in Strasbourg for a report criticising China's new law threatening the use of force if Taiwan opts for independence.

``[Parliament] regrets that relations with China have made progress only in the trade and economic fields, without any substantial achievement as regards human rights and democracy issues,'' the report said.

Wider debate

Bowing to such pressure, E.U. Foreign Ministers are expected to endorse calls for a wider debate, including a dialogue with the U.S., about relations with Asia as a whole — including China.

They want the Bush administration, which is considering the provision of $120billions of anti-missile systems to Taiwan, to accept arms supply is a two-way process.

MEPs (members of the European Parliament) said the E.U. should first draw up a legally-binding code of conduct for arms shipments to China, with sources indicating that the revised code under consideration went beyond the current ban on lethal weapons to embrace dual-use arms and adopt more extensive criteria for sanctioning shipments, including end-use.

With Washington threatening trade sanctions and restrictions on technology transfers if the embargo is lifted, EADS, the Franco-German-Spanish defence group, said this week it would voluntarily shut itself out of the Chinese market. —

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

International

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu