China urges France to honour Tibet promises

2nd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

France promises not to support Tibet independence and acknowledges that the Himalayan region is an inseparable part of China in a joint diplomatic communique signed by the two countries.

BEIJING – China urged France Thursday to honour its commitments on Tibet, after the presidents of the two nations held a summit meeting aimed at easing a damaging diplomatic row over the Dalai Lama.

The countries signed a joint diplomatic communique Wednesday in which France said it would not support "Tibet independence" in any form and acknowledged that the Himalayan region was "an inseparable part of China".

"We hope that France can follow the principle and spirit of the press communique and work together with China to promote the healthy and stable growth of bilateral relations," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

"France made a solemn commitment. France's position is explicit and clear."

The signing of the communique opened the way for a summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the Group of 20 nations meeting in London late Wednesday night.

Relations between the two nations deteriorated sharply last year due to Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, in December in Poland.

Qin refused to confirm that the communique barred France from issuing a visa to the Dalai Lama or banned French leaders from meeting him, only reiterating China's long-standing general position.

"We oppose the Dalai (Lama) engaging in activities overseas aimed at splitting the motherland under any name or pretext," Qin said.

"We are resolutely opposed to any leaders or personages having official contact with Dalai (Lama) and we are opposed to any foreign country interfering in China's internal affairs on this issue."

China has accused the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet, which has been under Chinese rule for 58 years. The Dalai Lama denies this, saying he wants meaningful autonomy for the Himalayan region.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in exile in India since. Despite his absence, he remains revered by Tibetan Buddhists in his homeland.

AFP / Expatica

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