News

    Official: European Union Not Likely to Lift China Arms Embargo Soon

    Multimedia

    Audio

    A top European Union official says the 25-nation block is unlikely to lift its 15-year ban on weapons sales to China soon. There have been divisions within the EU over the issue and the United States has warned ending the ban could put hi-tech weapons in the hands of Beijing, destabilizing the military balance of power in Asia.

    EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner addresses the media at the EU Foreign Ministers Council at the Senningen castle in Luxembourg
    At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency, European external relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the time is not right for lifting the embargo. "For the moment, I must say, I see that it is hard to imagine that there is an early lifting," she said.

    Last year, the EU gave Luxembourg a mandate to lift the embargo by the end of its presidency in June. But many conditions were attached, according to Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, such as the improvement of the human rights situation in China.

    "The European Council also stated that it expected relations between the EU and China to make further progress in all areas. I repeat, all areas. In particular reference was made to ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights… I need hardly tell you that a decision on lifting an embargo is not taken in a vacuum," he said.

    The issue has created divisions within the 25-nation EU. France has been pushing for an end to the ban, but other nations, including Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden want the embargo retained for now. EU security specialist Michael Emerson, of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, says the bloc is far from united on the issue but pressure is building for a decision.

    "France wants to go ahead and lift the embargo," he said. "I think the UK [Britain] has moved to the position that they would rather defer the question for the time being. And Germany seems to be divided between [German Foreign Minister Joschka] Fischer, who would like to put down the firmer marker [would like to demand more from China], whereas Chancellor Schroeder would like to go ahead and lift the embargo…. You can't infinitely finesse a question like this. You're handling it. You either do it or you don't."

    German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer this week said China should take concrete steps on human rights and Taiwan before the ban is lifted.

    The EU imposed the embargo following the 1989 crackdown on democracy protesters in Tiananmen square. France says it is outdated. But other European officials expressed concern after China recently passed a law allowing the use of force against Taiwan if it declared independence. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province.

    Washington opposes ending the embargo, saying it will allow China to acquire high-tech weapons that could be used against Taiwan. Some Europeans want to avoid a dispute with Washington just as trans-Atlantic relations are recovering from the clash over the Iraq war. EU Commissioner Ferraro-Waldner. "We are also in favor of launching a strategic dialogue with the United States on the subject of Asia, including also China and the wider security in the region," he said.

    Meanwhile, China is the number one trading partner for the EU and is becoming a larger economic and political power on the world stage.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.