Prodi: Prompt Lifting of Chinese Arms Embargo Unlikely
The lifting of the EU’s 15-year-old arms embargo on China is improbable in the "immediate future," Commission President Romano Prodi has said.
Arriving in China on Tuesday for a four-day visit, Prodi noted human rights were still an issue: "We have registered certain progress by China in the area of human rights but it is not yet satisfactory. Further progress in this field would be very helpful in the context of discussions that are ongoing on the possibility of lifting the arms embargo." His comments came after a after meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The EU put the ban in place in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Moves to lift the embargo, strongly backed by France, have concerned the U.S., which fears that more arms in the region may topple the delicate balance of power which keeps Taiwan and China at relative peace. The UK is also reported to have stepped up its opposition to lifting this ban. This issue will be discussed by EU foreign ministers on April 26 in Luxembourg.