On Tuesday 19th April the Luxembourg Parliament, with only a few abstentions, almost unanimously passed a resolution calling for the government of Luxembourg not to lift the EU arms embargo on China. The Luxembourg government currently holds the Presidency of the EU, which rotates between EU member states every six months.

The text of the resolution called on the Luxembourg government to work towards “the development of a trusting relationship between China and the EU” while at the same time voicing “concern for the political consequences of ending the arms embargo” and also calling for the release of all political prisoners held by China.

At the EU-China Summit in The Hague in December 2004, the EU stated “its political will to continue to work towards lifting the embargo”. Shortly after, the EU Council requested Luxembourg, in its role as EU President, to “finalize” preparations for lifting the 15-year-old ban on arms sales to China.

However, particularly strong opposition from the United States and Japan to the lifting of the embargo, combined with the passing of an Anti-Secession law by China in March authorizing the use of “non-peaceful” means to block Taiwanese independence, has left a number of EU members wondering whether now is the right time to consider lifting the embargo.