UK To Block European Union Plan To Lift China Arms Embargo

The United Kingdom is set to resist any plans by European leaders to relax arms sales restrictions against China in return for Chinese financial assistance in the eurozone crisis, it has been reported.

An arms sales ban was put in place in Europe after China used military force against protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989.

Now Europe finds itself in continued financial difficulty and the European Union is looking to leverage its bail-out fund to €1tn with the help of investment from cash-rich emerging economies such as China.

Before the eurozone crisis deepened, European leaders were publicly considering lifting the ban, along with other restrictions. In January, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton suggested the EU "should discuss its [the embargo's] practical implication and design a way forward".

At the time, Downing Street said the time was "not right" for the lifting of the ban and Foreign Secretary William Hague is once again said to be prepared to resist any such move.

A statement released by Chinese state-run media agency Xinhua said the country would never stop demanding EU restrictions be lifted and that there was a "prejudicial" assumption that it would demand their lifting in exchange for financial help.

"Even if the debt crisis had not happened and the EU had not sought Chinese help, China would never stop demanding that the EU abandon its obsolete mentality and take a more open-minded approach on issues of currency disputes, high-tech export restrictions, arms sales embargo and human rights censure.
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