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EU urged to scrap arms embargo
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-05 06:16

China on Friday called for an end to a 16-year EU arms embargo ahead of a trip by President Hu Jintao next week to Europe.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing called the ban "political discrimination."

"What we are not in favour of and opposed to is the fact that this stand involves and reflects political discrimination," said Li, who briefed reporters on Hu's trip.

"It is a legacy of the Cold War, it is poorly founded, useless and can only be harmful. This should have been scrapped a long time ago."

He noted that if there was no political discrimination, China-EU co-operation opportunities would increase.

Hu is scheduled to visit Britain, Spain and Germany beginning November 8 before travelling to Busan in the Republic of Korea (ROK) for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum on November 18-19.

Li said Hu's trip is designed to increase mutual trust, expand common ground, promote co-operation and strengthen friendly relations.

Hu will meet leaders of the four countries and make several speeches to "illustrate China's policy of peaceful development," Li said.

When in Seoul, Hu is likely to hold talks with leaders of the countries concerned about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as the fifth round of Six-Party Talks is scheduled to start next Wednesday in Beijing. The parties involve China, the DPRK, the ROK, the United States, Japan and Russia.

Li expressed confidence that the talks would continue because of the patience and flexibility of the parties concerned.

On the trade rift between China and the ROK over kimchi, or Korean pickle, Li said the best way to solve the issue is to follow the internationally accepted trade rules while showing "flexibility and creativeness."

Li told reporters that the ROK's complaints that Chinese-made kimchi carried unhealthy parasites should be solved by negotiation, and he proclaimed his own devotion to the super-hot concoction of cabbage, peppers and ginger which features at every Korean meal.

"Kimchi is one of my favourite topics, because I personally love it," Li said, adding that he had recently eaten the dish in Pyongyang, Seoul and New York.

China this week banned the import of several ROK food products, including 10 kinds of kimchi, saying they were contaminated with parasite eggs.

The announcement came after ROK food inspectors said parasite eggs had been found in kimchi imported from China.

State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan said earlier that Chinese leaders would have a busy diplomatic itinerary untill the end of this year. After hosting the fifth round of Six-Party Talks, Beijing will play host to US President George W. Bush, who is scheduled to visit on November 19.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/05/2005 page1)

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