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EU Lobbies China to Link Improving Rights to Lifting Arms Embargo

European Union officials visiting Beijing have urged China to improve its human rights record to create a "positive climate" for ending a ban on European arms sales to the country.

The EU commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Wednesday said Beijing should free protesters detained in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and ratify a United Nations pact on civil and political rights (Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). The commissioner said taking such action would allow the European Union to lift the ban on arms sales imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

China's foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, later told reporters that EU efforts to link rights to arms sales were "unhelpful."

The two sides also discussed European concerns about the recent surge in Chinese textile exports following the end of a global quota system. European officials said they hope to work out a solution with the Chinese.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and Bloomberg.