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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 September 2006, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
China and EU to hold treaty talks
By Alix Kroeger
BBC News, Brussels

Chinese goods bound for Europe
Trade is booming, though the two sides differ over human rights
The European Union and China have agreed to launch talks on a new treaty to cover their growing political and economic ties.

The announcement came at a summit in Finland, which currently holds the EU presidency. They also made statements on North Korea and Iran.

China and the EU are doing more business together than ever before.

Now they have agreed to start talks on updating the framework which governs their relations.

Political and economic negotiations will be partially split but not entirely.

China says it disapproves of linking human rights questions to trade talks.

For its part, the EU is sticking by a ban on arms sales to China first imposed after the violent oppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square 17 years ago.

China had again appealed for the embargo to be lifted.

Iran appeal

But on other issues, the two sides agreed to work together.

They expressed grave concern over the recent missile launches by North Korea and called for the resumption of six-party talks.

They also urged Iran to comply fully with the demand from the United Nations that it stop enriching uranium.

But speaking after the summit ended, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said sanctions on Iran would not necessarily bring a peaceful solution.

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