Holiday Gift Guide
Gift ideas & reviews for this holiday season
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
You Witness News
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Sarkozy defies China with Dalai Lama talks
Sat Dec 6, 2008 1:52pm EST
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Yann Le Guernigou and Gareth Jones
GDANSK, Poland (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy defied China on Saturday by meeting the Dalai Lama and said Europe shared the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's concerns over the situation in his homeland.
China called the meeting an "opportunistic, rash and short-sighted approach to handling the Tibet issue," despite Sarkozy saying he regarded Tibet as part of China and that there was no need to "dramatize" his encounter.
"The meeting went very well ... The Chinese authorities knew perfectly well this meeting would take place before the end of the year," Sarkozy told reporters after his talks, which lasted about 30 minutes.
China called off a summit with the European Union last Monday in protest against Sarkozy's plan to meet the Dalai Lama, branded by Beijing as a "splittist" for advocating self-determination for his mountain homeland.
On Saturday, China condemned the meeting. "This development is indeed an unwise move which not only hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, but also undermines Sino-French ties," its official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.
"The French side ... took an opportunistic, rash and short-sighted approach to handling the Tibet issue."
Sarkozy said the Dalai Lama, who welcomed him by draping a 'kata' or traditional Tibetan white scarf on his shoulder, had said at the meeting that he does not seek independence for Tibet. "I told him how much importance I attach to the pursuit of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities."
Asked about the situation in Tibet, Sarkozy said: "The Dalai Lama shared with me his worries, worries which are shared in Europe. We have had a wide discussion of this question." The Dalai Lama and other supporters of Tibetan self-rule say China is strangling the mountain region's cultural and religious traditions and subordinating Tibetans to an influx of Han Chinese migrants and investment, charges Beijing rejects.
The two met in the Polish port of Gdansk where they joined 25th anniversary celebrations of Polish pro-democracy leader Lech Walesa's winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
Playing down any possible negative impact on Sino-French ties, Sarkozy said: "There is no need to dramatize things."
Beijing's unusually vocal criticism of Sarkozy's plan to meet the Dalai Lama is linked to the fact that Paris holds the European Union's rotating presidency, diplomats say.
In Paris, an official said there had been no sign yet of any Chinese boycott of French products. The EU is China's biggest trade partner and supermarket chain Carrefour employs tens of thousands of people in China and is the biggest purchaser of Chinese goods in France.
French companies were subjected to Chinese boycotts and demonstrations earlier this year after the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay was disrupted by anti-China protesters.
Earlier on Saturday, the Dalai Lama called for dialogue and compassion to solve the world's problems. Continued...
View article on single page
Hong Kong historical drama wins big at Golden Horses
Also on Reuters
Oprah named entertainment's most powerful woman
Video: Fate of Detroit bailout uncertain
Slideshow: The many trials of O.J. Simpson
China condemns Sarkozy's Dalai Lama meeting: Xinhua
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
UPDATE 1-Minnesota Senate recount nears end: Coleman leads
Heiress Von Bulow dies after decades in coma
"Koobface" virus turns up on Facebook
U.S. says latest missile defense test a success
"Car czar" proposed for any automaker bailout
O.J. Simpson prepares for prison
Falling rates renew old problem for U.S. banks
Cheap oil: short-term good, long-term dangerous
Destructive Koobface virus turns up on Facebook
Obama promises aggressive growth measures
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Fate of Detroit bailout uncertain
Maoists suspected of attack
Job losses worst in 34 yrs
Russian Patriarch Aleixy II dies
India launches bird flu cull
Deadly shootout in Manila raid
Deadly blast in Pakistan
Hebron tense after evictions
Honda exits F1
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
Death all around
Award winning Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly recounts the horrors of living on the front line of the conflict in eastern Congo. Blog
Slideshow: Images from Congo
Video: The long wait for refugees
Blog: Caught in Chad rebel offensive
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.