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Chirac Calls for Lifting Ban on EU Weapons Sales to China - 2004-10-10


French President Jacques Chirac has called for an end to a 15-year European Union arms embargo on China imposed after Beijing's bloody crackdown on unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators.

Mr. Chirac made his remarks Saturday after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the Chinese capital at the start of a five-day visit. The French leader said the EU ban on weapons sales to Beijing was "motivated purely and simply by hostility toward China." Mr. Chirac says he hopes to see the embargo lifted in the coming months.

The United States is against lifting the EU ban, as is the New York-based group, Human Rights in China.

Mr. Chirac's visit to China is aimed at increasing bilateral trade and economic ties.

French business leaders accompanying President Chirac to China already have signed agreements totaling more than $1 billion.

In June 1989, the Chinese army killed hundreds of pro-democracy activists who had taken part in demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. On Saturday, Chinese President Hu indicated he believes the move was appropriate, and said his government has no intention of reassessing the incident.

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