Germany sees no danger to China ties over a recent meeting with Tibet's Dalai Lama
18 October 2007, Berlin (AFP) - Germany said on Wednesday it saw no danger that a recent meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama would damage its relations with China.
18 October 2007
Berlin (AFP) - Germany said on Wednesday it saw no danger that a recent meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama would damage its relations with China.
"We have fully explained to China our motivations for the meeting between the chancellor and the Dalai Lama and listened to China's position on the issue," the government's chief spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference.
"But we have always made it clear that good and friendly links between China and Germany are in the interests of both sides... and that this is a strong basis for us to further develop our relations."
China refused to take part in a planned meeting on Wednesday of world powers on the Iranian nuclear crisis in Berlin, forcing its cancellation.
US officials said China had pulled out because of its displeasure over this week's high-profile visit by the Dalai Lama to the United States.
"Germany regrets the Chinese refusal to come," Wilhelm said, adding that no new date had yet been fixed for the meeting of top officials from the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.
US President George W. Bush met the Dalai Lama on Tuesday and was set to anger China further on Wednesday by presenting him with the Congressional Gold Medal -- the highest civilian award the Congress can bestow.
Merkel held landmark talks with the Dalai Lama at her chancellery in Berlin on September 23.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of wanting independence for his Tibetan homeland.
In Berlin, the parties were to have discussed calls to tighten UN sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.
The United States and many Western countries suspect Iran is covertly developing nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.
Subject: German news