Germany says Dalai Lama visit should not affect diplomatic relations with China

21st September 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Talks this weekend between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Dalai Lama should not affect relations with China, German government spokesmen said in Berlin Friday.

21 September 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Talks this weekend between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Dalai Lama should not affect relations with China, German government spokesmen said in Berlin Friday.

Merkel, who meets the exiled Tibetan leader on Sunday, had regularly sought meeting with religious leaders in the past, government spokesman Thomas Steg said.

He was responding to sharp criticism from the Chinese government at the visit.

Relations between Germany and China were of high quality, and the chancellor had a "strong interest in extending these relations in all areas," he said.

"The German government believes that the Tibetan problem can only be solved by dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama," Steg said.

He added that the German government supported Tibet's claim to religious and cultural autonomy.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger added that China remained an important partner for Germany, not only economically, but also in resolving global political problems.

On Tuesday China warned the German government not to allow a visit by the Dalai Lama and urged it to consider the "general picture of Chinese-German relations."

"We hope the German side will not allow the Dalai Lama to visit Germany," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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