China urges Sarkozy to cancel meeting with Dalai Lama

December 2nd, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 2 (DPA) China Tuesday called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy to cancel his planned meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.It was time for the French side to make a choice, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing.

He also warned that political and economic ties between Paris and Beijing would suffer if Sarkozy pursued the planned talks.

France, which currently holds the EU presidency, should respect China’s concerns and take concrete measures, he said.

French-Tibetan contacts provoked controversy with China earlier this year, when the French leg of the Olympic relay torch was the site of protests against Beijing’s stance on Tibet.

Sarkozy initially also planned to stay away from the opening ceremony of the games, but later changed his mind and attended.

The Dalai Lama refrained from meeting the French president during an August conference with Tibetan exiles in France.

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