Javier Solana's comments on Wednesday came in response to a question from a Chinese student at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

"What we have learned … is that no single country, no matter how powerful it may be … can resolve the difficult challenges of today."

"The difficult challenges of today, to make the world a better place, have to be obtained through cooperation."
   
Lifting European arms embargo

The foreign policy chief is currently working to end a 14-year-old arms embargo, imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, despite US pressure against dropping the ban

On Tuesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also said there had been too much "unilateralism" in 2003 and hopes to see the embargo raised by May 2004.

However, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has warned that the reasons for the ban still remain.

"We believe that the US and European prohibitions on arms sales … were imposed for the same reasons, specifically serious human rights abuses, and that those reasons remain valid today."
 
Arms ban

Beijing has been pushing the EU to drop the arms embargo and has managed to secure support from two of its largest powers, France and Germany.

"What we have learned … is that no single country, no matter how powerful it may be … can resolve the difficult challenges of today"

Javier Solana,
EU  foreign policy chief

A unanimous decision by the European Council is required for the embargo to be lifted and it appears there is growing consensus on this issue.
 
But in addition to US objections, various groups such as supporters of Taiwanese independence and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) say it is still premature to resume arms sales.

ICT executive director Tsering Jampa said: "The European public is not oblivious to the fact that some European governments are keen to see a resumption of arms trade with China for purely economic reasons.

"Two of the world’s largest arms exporters, are projecting a false and dangerous impression of there being a problem-free human rights situation in Tibet and China when in fact China continues to have one of the world’s worst human rights records".