German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said he had no plans to drop his support for the lifting of a European Union arms embargo on China after EU officials said any decision was unlikely to be made before June.
Schröder hopes a new wall won't be built between the EU and China
In an interview with Germany's Die Zeit weekly, Schröder said he had no intention of changing his position and was willing to push ahead without the support of Germany's parliament if need be.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (left) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
"I take every parliamentary vote seriously, but the constitution is clear on this," he said. "The constitution says that the federal government is in charge of foreign policy."
Schröder's ruling Social Democrats and their junior coalition partners, the Greens, disagree over whether the ban should be lifted on China, which is one of Germany's major trading partners.
Greens: Lifting ban not an option
"Lifting the ban is not an option for us at the moment," said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, a leading Greens politician. "Neither China's domestic policy nor its foreign policy allows for that to happen."
Most of parliament opposes his stance and the conservative opposition has also urged him to change tack.
Men ride motorcycle past a government slogan in Chinese: "Strengthen National Power, Built a Solid National Defense"
Schröder's comments come after it emerged that EU members are unlikely to reach agreement on lifting the embargo, which was imposed after the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy students in Beijing, by the end of June as previously expected.
The EU had agreed in December to the principle of ending the ban.
EU code of conduct for arms sales
The members planned to compensate for lifting it by beefing up a self-imposed code of conduct, designed to prevent the sale of certain types of weapons or technology which could be used for non-defense purposes.
But support for the move has waned since the Chinese parliament on March 14 passed a controversial anti-secession law, which authorizes the use of military force against Taiwan if the island moves toward formal independence.
A pro-Taiwan supporter denounces China and its anti-secession law
The United States opposes lifting the ban. It fears being drawn into a conflict if a better-armed China were to take military action against Taiwan.
Schröder said the EU embargo was imposed only because of the pro-democracy crackdown and not any aggressive wider military policy on China's part.
"Almost 16 years have gone by, I am counting on a shift toward more freedom" in the country, he told Die Zeit.