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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
The Ministers for Foreign Affairs held a strategic discussion on relations with China

Date of release : 15-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Informal Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs (Gymnich)

After the first day of the informal meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, which was held at the Château de Senningen, Jean Asselborn, the current President of the Council, spoke to the press about the Ministers' discussion on China:

"Today we had a comprehensive discussion on China, and on the impact of its extraordinary economic growth and its transformation into an indispensable international actor in its region and in the world.

As you know, in the twenty years after the market reforms of Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the Chinese economy quadrupled in size. Other countries have experienced periods of rapid growth, but sustained expansion in a country the size of China is unprecedented. China's size and the spedd of the transformation have given these developments a global dimension. China's evolution in these past years has made it an increasingly indispensable actor on the international scene.

Our exchange of views focussed on the effect of these major changes on our relations with China - of course you know that we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic relations this year – and on their implications for certain partners and our relations with those partners.

During our discussions, the will to increase our engagement with China was expressed. A strengthened partnership is essential for confronting our common economic and political challenges.

Dialogue with such an important partner is also indispensable for promoting the values of the European Union. The importance that we attach to questions of principle, such as human rights and the peaceful resolution of differences, was particularly emphasised in this context.

No decision was taken today regarding the embargo. In line with the conclusions of the European Council of last December, the EU will pursue and try to complete the work that is well advanced so that a decision can be taken. Discussions are being pursued within the EU on strengthening the code of conduct and the new instrument on measures (toolbox) regarding the export of arms to post-embargo countries. Let me remind that the toolbox includes different criteria for authorising the export of arms, in particular criteria concerning human rights, stability and security in the region and the national security of friendly countries or allies.

Discussions on this topic will continue both within the EU and with our partners."

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This page was last modified on : 16-04-2005

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