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China Tells EU it Seeks Peaceful Taiwan Solution

China's Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, has told the European Union that his country wants a peaceful solution to the Taiwan issue, despite a new law authorizing force if Taiwan seeks formal independence.

This week China's parliament passed a law allowing the use of force to head off any bid for independence by Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province.

But at a Brussels news conference, during meetings with EU officials, Mr. Li played down concerns about the measure.

"This law is meant that China will work out a peaceful solution of the Taiwan question and for the peaceful reunification of our motherland," he said. "There is no reason at all, for anybody, for any member of the international community to be concerned."

The Taiwan issue is receiving attention because the EU is planning to lift an arms embargo imposed on Beijing after the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square democracy protesters in 1989.

The move is intended to improve European ties with Beijing, which is a vital trade and business partner. France and Germany are leading the push to end the arms ban. They see it as a goodwill gesture that will help to open China's quickly expanding market to sales of expensive civilian goods like airliners.

But the United States has appealed to the EU not to end the ban amid concerns that European arms sales could prompt an arms race in Asia and threaten Taiwan. EU officials in Brussels are to impose a new code of conduct covering all EU arms exports, but Washington fears that the new controls will be weak.