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EU to keep arms embargo on China

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by FOX80, Dec 20, 2013.

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    TOKYO (Nikkei) -- The leaders of Japan and the European Union agreed Tuesday on the need for "responsible" controls on the arms trade, with the EU to maintain restrictions on exports of weapons and dual-use technology to China.

    Some EU members favor ending the long-standing embargo, which was prompted by China's crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Japan has urged the EU to uphold the ban and enforce it strictly.

    Meeting in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso "reaffirmed their commitment to responsible export controls of arms and dual-use items and technologies," according to a joint statement. It was the first statement from Japan and the EU to mention dual-use items in the context of export controls. EU member states have discretion over the specific articles under the embargo. France, for instance, allows the export of civilian items with potential military applications to China. In March, it was revealed that a French contractor had sold China components that could be used in naval helicopter landing gear.

    The leaders also expressed "concern that tensions ... in East Asia’s maritime areas ... could adversely impact regional security, stability and prosperity." Although the statement did not name China, the allusion to its growing presence in the region's waters was clear. The leaders called for "peaceful, diplomatic and cooperative solutions, based on the principle of the rule of law." Van Rompuy, who travels to Beijing on Wednesday, credited Japan for its restraint amid these tensions and said he would urge Chinese leaders to respond constructively.

    Addressing new threats to peace, the leaders agreed to start a bilateral dialogue on space policy and hold regular discussions on cybersecurity. Japan and the EU will also continue to cooperate on fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, according to the statement. Abe said Japan stands ready to play a role in resolving the impasse over Iran's nuclear program.

    Abe, Van Rompuy and Barroso also discussed economic cooperation at the summit, the first since May 2011. They called for "a deep and comprehensive" economic partnership agreement to be completed as soon as possible. Three rounds of negotiations have been held since March. By January, both sides aim to propose specific tariffs for elimination.

    Barroso voiced support for Abe's campaign against deflation, crediting Abenomics with starting an economic revolution in Japan.