New Zealand prime minister to talk Tibet with China

March 30th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by admin  

Wellington, March 30 (DPA) New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said she would raise China’s treatment of Tibetan protesters with her Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao when they meet this week for an historic free trade agreement. Clark told the New Zealand political television programme Agenda that she expected to be the first Western leader to directly raise the issue with the Chinese premier since the riots in Lhasa more than a fortnight ago.

Clark said she expected a strong “pushback” from China because of the country’s strong views.

She told the television programme that although she would not question the status of Tibet within China, “I will raise it as an issue of how human rights can be respected in the country.”

Clark will be in Beijing April 6-7 to witness senior ministers sign an historic free trade agreement.

One minister in Clark’s multiparty government has declined the prime minister’s invitation to witness the signing on April 7, because of China’s recent actions in Tibet.

Minister of Revenue and leader of the minor United Future party Peter Dunne said he would not travel to Beijing with several other government ministers, because of what he called China’s “bloody crackdown” on Tibet.

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