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China calls EU arms embargo ‘political prejudice’

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BEIJING, Jan. 28 (AP) – (Kyodo)—China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday reiterated previous calls for the immediate “unconditional and complete” lifting of the European Union arms embargo slapped on China more than 20 years ago, saying it reflects “political prejudice” against the country.

“The nature of the embargo is a political prejudice against China, and this is contrary to the current worldwide trend and the development of the overall China-EU strategic partnership,” the ministry’s spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a regular press briefing.

“We hope that the EU will make a political decision as soon as possible to immediately lift the arms embargo unconditionally and completely, and help remove all obstacles in the healthy development of China-EU relations,” Ma added.

He was responding to questions on a China Daily report last week in which Spanish AmbassadorCarlos Blasco Villa, whose country holds the EU rotating presidency from Jan. 1 to June 30, was quoted as telling the state-run newspaper that Spainhopes “to deepen discussions on lifting the ban.”

The ambassador clarified earlier this week that he “never said Spain is going to make a specific proposal” to lift the ban but rather it seeks “to eliminate any inconvenience in relationships between the EU and China.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos was quoted by foreign media as saying earlier this week that Spain is weighing “the pros and cons” of a lifting of the ban to improve relations between the European Union and China.

Some EU member states like France have previously considered lifting the embargo.

Countries like the United States and Japan are strongly opposed to such a decision, with Japan concerned that the removal of such restrictions would cause a shift of power in East Asia.

The EU arms embargo was imposed after the Chinese government crushed democracy activists inBeijing’s Tiananmen Squarein June 1989.

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