Schröder seeks end to China arms ban

The 15-year EU arms embargo on China is to continue at least into next year, despite a call yesterday from the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder for the ban to be lifted.

At a summit tomorrow, EU leaders will tell China there has been insufficient progress on human rights and other issues to permit an immediate end to restrictions. But Mr Schröder's intervention highlights the growing consensus within the EU that the ban, imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, is outdated.

In Beijing, where the Chinese government signed contracts worth €1.6bn (£1.1bn) to buy 23 European Airbus jetliners, Mr Schröder said he had called before for an end to the ban on weapons sales, and added: "My opinion hasn't changed." France has led the call for an end to the ban which, it says, places China among pariah states such as North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe. Paris says that, with the EU normalising relations with countries such as Libya, and most European countries trying to build commercial relations with Beijing, the embargo should be scrapped.

One reason the EU is hesitating is pressure from the US which has called for the embargo to be kept, and threatened to curtail transfers of sensitive military technology to European countries if it were dropped. But most diplomats expect the embargo to be lifted next year, probably during the first six months, after some conditions have been met. Diplomats are not keen to make gestures to Beijing before the Taiwanese elections on Saturday.

The EU is hoping China will make a move over human rights, the original reason for the embargo. And the UK, Sweden and other countries are also pressing for a tightening of a code of conduct on arms sales which would apply to all exports from Europe.

Human rights groups remain critical of Beijing. In a report, Amnesty International said "torture and ill-treatment remain widespread and endemic within China's criminal justice system", and Reporters Without Borders has attacked violations of press freedom.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy