Tactical retreat over china

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EU FOREIGN ministers agreed to take a less confrontational attitude to human rights in China. In view of the "first encouraging results of the EU-China human rights dialogue", the ministers agreed that neither the EU presidency nor individual states will table resolutions on China at the next UN Commission on Human Rights.

Robin Cook noted: "We didn't do a service to human rights by showing an EU which was deeply divided" - a reference to arguments which made it impossible for Europe to press forward with a condemnatory vote at the UN Commission on Human Rights last year, when France refused to sign up for a draft EU resolution. In effect, Europe has now retreated from further embarrassment of this kind. Less confrontationally, an opening EU statement will "refer" to the human rights situation in China.