MADRID — Following in the wake of the Bush Administration, the 12 European Community nations Tuesday froze normal relations with China but stopped short of imposing trade sanctions.
The list of six measures, including the suspension of high-level diplomatic contacts, the postponement of new cooperative projects and a reduction of cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, followed similar actions already taken by several of the community's individual states.
The action followed an initial declaration issued June 6 in which the community strongly condemned "the brutal repression taking place in China."
Community officials said Tuesday's statement was designed to signal the Chinese leadership that normal relations are impossible so long as the repression continued.
"(The community) solemnly requests the Chinese authorities to stop the executions and to put an end to the repressive actions against those who legitimately claim their democratic rights," the declaration stated.
The Chinese government has announced a total of 27 executions related to the protests and the political crackdown.
The community's leaders also agreed to raise the issue of human rights in China in international meetings and offer visa extensions to Chinese students currently studying in Europe who apply for them.
While they moved to suspend military cooperation and impose an arms embargo on China, they took no action to interrupt other trade.
Collectively, the 12 member countries constitute China's second largest trading partner, after Japan. Last year, trade between the community and China totaled just under $15 billion.
The European Community first established relations with China in 1975 and has held regular ministerial-level meetings with that nation for the past six years.
It opened a permanent mission in Beijing last October and was negotiating a new commercial-economic agreement when the violence erupted.
"Those negotiations are now on hold," a community official said Tuesday.
On the Middle East, the 12 leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to a U.N.-sponsored international peace conference for resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute.
They said such a conference should include representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization.