Friday, Nov 14, 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy risks “hard-won” gains in ties with Beijing if he meets the Dalai Lama, a Chinese government spokesman warned on Friday, raising tensions a day before the two powers attend a financial summit.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said his government “resolutely opposes foreign leaders engaging in any form of contact” with Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, whom it calls a “splittist” for advocating self-determination for his homeland.
Qin’s warning was issued on the Foreign Ministry website (www.fmprc.gov.cn) a day after Sarkozy said he would meet the Dalai Lama in Poland in December.
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Sarkozy and Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend a summit on the global financial crisis in Washington on Saturday, and the French leader has looked to China to back his proposals to revamp global financial rules.
Spokesman Qin did not mention the summit, but suggested Sarkozy’s proposed meeting with the Dalai Lama could damage broader relations for both France and the European Union.
“At present, China-French and China-Europe relations have been improving and developing, and this hard-won situation should be further cherished,” Qin said.