China’s Wen Jiabao Demands EU Lift Arms Embargo

Wen Jiabao has used his last summit with the European Union to demand that Brussels lifts its arms embargo on Beijing in a move that doused hopes for a final economic boost from the retiring Chinese premier.

by Louise Armitstead, Chief Business Correspondent

With barely disguised frustration, Mr Wen said it a matter of “regret” that he failed over his term of office to remove the arms embargo, which was imposed after the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

“I have to be very frank in saying this… but the solution [to lifting the embargo] has been elusive over the past 10 years,” he said, using strong, formal language in his speech to EU leaders in Brussels. “I deeply regret this and I hope the EU side will take greater initiative to solve these issues.”

Ahead of the annual summit, now in its 15th year, EU sources had warned that “we have agreed to disagree” with the Chinese on the arms embargo.

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