Chinese leader not planning to meet Sarkozy at G20

24th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The list of world leaders that Chinese President Hu Jintao plans on meeting at next week’s G20 summit does not include his French counterpart.

BEIJING – Chinese President Hu Jintao has no plans to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at next week's G20 summit, an official said Monday, while calling on France to fix ties strained by a row over Tibet.

"We hope that France will take concrete actions to explicitly, positively, and actively respond to China's major concerns to put Sino-French ties on the right track," Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei told reporters.

Speaking at a briefing on China's participation in the summit, He made the comment after naming several world leaders that Hu planned to meet on the G20's sidelines, a list that did not include Sarkozy.

Relations between China and France nosedived after Sarkozy met with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Poland in December last year.

China opposes any government figure meeting the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of being intent on achieving independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama denies this, saying he wants meaningful autonomy.

The auctioning in Paris last month of a pair of Chinese relics looted from China by French and British forces during the Second Opium War in 1860 has added a further irritant to relations.

"As you all know, China-France relations recently encountered some difficulties. I think the reasons are known to all. I am not going to repeat that," He said.

However, He declined to say directly whether the lack of a planned meeting between Hu and Sarkozy was linked to the chill in ties.

China has repeatedly called on France to take steps to rectify bilateral relations but the foreign ministry has not specified publicly what those measures should be.

The vice foreign minister did not elaborate on the expected measures in his comments on Monday.

AFP / Expatica

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