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EU Unlikely To Lift China Arms Ban


Reuters


Britain has said it sees little prospect of the European Union lifting its arms embargo on China in the near future. Brussels imposed the ban after Chinese authorities killed hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 but some nations, including France, have pushed for an end to the embargo. Fierce opposition from the United States and Japan, coupled with China's enactment of a law threatening military action if Taiwan declared independence, made a decision to lift the ban politically impossible last year. British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett said there was still disagreement within the 25-member bloc. "There is no consensus within the EU so it seems to me it is not an issue likely to be decided in the near future," Beckett told a British parliamentary committee. In 2005 EU officials had worked on replacing the ban with a tightened code of conduct on arms exports to ensure weapon sales to China did not increase overall. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in April 2006 that China had to make progress on human rights before the EU would lift the ban.


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