Taiwan: Happy EU Won't Offer China Arms Ban End
Michael Ying-Mao Kau said Taiwan was alarmed two years ago when French President Jacques Chirac and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder advocated ending the embargo imposed after China's killing of student protesters in 1989.
"We would like to see the arms embargo remain intact," Kau told Reuters. "The reason is very simple -- the rationale for imposing it was China's human rights violations and we don't really see in recent years any major improvement in that area."
Kau said he did not expect the issue to feature at Saturday's EU-China summit in Helsinki.
"From our friends we talk to in Europe as well as from Japan and the U.S., the European side is not particularly interested in talking about the issue and probably even thinks it's unhelpful," he said. "We hope there are no surprises.
"For now, our information is that China may agree not raise the issue."
Fierce opposition from the United States and Japan, coupled with China's enactment of a law threatening military action if Taiwan declared independence, made a decision to lift the ban politically impossible last year.
Washington argued that European arms and technology sold to Beijing could end up threatening U.S. forces in Asia.
Britain said in June it saw little prospect of the European Union lifting the embargo in the near future as there was still disagreement on the issue within the 25-member bloc.
Kau said Taiwan wanted to see the European Union, as an increasingly important actor on the global stage, helping to promote peace and stability, economic cooperation, democracy and human rights through its China policy.
"Two years ago I was really very worried when you had Chirac and Schroeder moving in a very one-sided way," Kau said. "At this point we are more encouraged ... because the EU is taking a more balanced approach."
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in April China had to make progress on human rights before the EU would lift the ban.
Beijing has pressed the European Union to end the embargo, but Western human rights groups have argued that European technology could be easily transferred and used to contribute to abuses in China or third countries.