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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 07:09 GMT
EU stands by China arms embargo
Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Ferrero-Waldner raised concern at China's coal-fired power stations
The European Union has not changed its conditions for lifting an arms embargo on China, the EU head of foreign relations has said at bilateral talks.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner said lifting the embargo was dependent on conditions such as China ratifying a UN convention on civil and political rights.

The embargo was enforced after the Tiananmen Square killings in 1989.

The EU-China talks will last up to two years and cover such areas as trade, the environment and human rights.

Gas emissions

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing issued a renewed plea at the talks in Beijing for the embargo to be lifted.

He denounced it as "political discrimination".

But Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, the EU External Relations Commissioner, re-listed three conditions, saying China must:

  • Ratify the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Free those jailed for involvement in Tiananmen Square
  • Abolish the "re-education through labour" system of imprisonment without trial.

Mrs Ferrero-Waldner said: "These are very important steps, and of course we would like to see some progress on these measures that would help."

She also said environmental issues were a key concern.

The EU would try to bring China into an initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner said.

"China is currently bringing on-stream one coal-fired power plant nearly every week... The rise in greenhouse gases could easily offset any reductions that would be made by the European Union," she said.

The EU is also expected to press China to do more to protect European patents and copyrights.

The EU is China's biggest trading partner, but the EU's deficit with Beijing was $133bn in 2005.

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