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Tibet 'not a core issue in Sino-French relations'

December 5, 2010

By Elaine Duan
China.org.cn
December 3, 2010

Tibet is not a core issue in Sino-French relations, former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Thursday during a seminar "Dialogue with the World" hosted by the All-China Youth Federation in Beijing.

Talking about President Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama in December 2008, and incidents during Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay, Raffarin said France's commitment to Chinese unity had been clearly confirmed in a joint press communiqué signed during the G20 summit in London at the beginning of the year.

Most French people know very little about Tibet, French UMP party President Jean-Francois Copé said during the seminar. And what they learn about Tibet mainly comes from French observers.

Copé said people from the two countries need to work together to promote mutual understanding. He said that because of different traditions and histories of France and China, deeper exchanges between the two states in all aspects and at all levels are required. He encouraged Chinese youth to visit France to gain a better understanding of France and Europe.

Asked about global climate change, Raffarin said developed countries have no right to preach to developing countries or to ask them to reduce energy consumption at the expense of their own development. He added that advanced countries should share their experience of using clean energy rather than blaming developing nations.

Raffarin quoted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as saying that "we should keep a low profile on the issue of emissions and seek alternative models of economic growth together with more advanced technologies in a harmonious society."

Raffarin said France hopes a G20 seminar will be organized in the first quarter of 2011. If the seminar could be held in China, it would be symbolic, the former Prime Minister added.
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