07/15/2005, 00.00
CHINA – EUROPEAN UNION
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Improve human rights situation, says Barroso

EU Commission President tells China that arms embargo is tied to its failure to respect human rights; he urges the mainland to show greater openness to direct dialogue with Taiwan before the 2008 Olympiad as a sign of great maturity.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso strongly urged China to take effective measures to improve human rights and begin a dialogue with Taiwan before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"In the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, the international community would welcome China starting a direct dialogue with Taiwan as a sign of great maturity," Barroso said in a speech after meeting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in the Chinese capital.  

"This will also greatly advance China's international standing and reputation as a global player with a particular responsibility for peace and security in East Asia," he added.

As for the EU embargo on arms sales imposed on China after the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, Barroso said that the ban would stay in place until the country's human rights situation is improved.

"It is important to have a better atmosphere in regard to the perception about human rights issues here in China," he said, "before considering lifting the ban".

The EU Commission President suggested China ratify the United Nations' International Convention on Civic and Political Rights as a first step.

"I'm sure such a decision would be very well perceived by public opinion and the European Parliament," he said.

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