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Japan, France at Odds over Lifting China Arms Embargo

Visiting French President Jacques Chirac has assured Japan that lifting Europe's embargo on weapons to China will not result in an increase in weapons sales.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Tokyo after a meeting Sunday with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Mr. Chirac said he told the Japanese leader that no sensitive technology would be transferred to Beijing.

Mr. Chirac said China's request to lift the arms embargo was legitimate and the reason for lifting the ban was political, aimed at normalizing ties.

Mr. Koizumi repeated Japan's opposition to lifting the embargo, imposed after China's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989.

France has been a prime supporter of ending the ban, a move opposed by both the United States and Japan.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.