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The Dalai Lama meets Mexican President, China cries foul

September 20, 2011

DHARAMSHALA, September 10: Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Friday held "private" talks with the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, a move which has riled the communist Chinese government.

The president’s office said in a statement that the pair had discussed "the importance of promoting ethical values in contemporary society" while reiterating his country's adherence to the "one-China principle."

Fresh from meeting with another head of state – the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in August – the Dalai Lama described his talks with the South American leader as "very good."

The meeting which was not listed on Calderon’s public agenda went on for about 45 minutes at the Los Pinos, the Presidential Palace of Mexico.

Speaking to reporters, the Nobel Peace laureate said that the meeting took place in a "friendly atmosphere" and added that Calderon had "inquired about the situation in Tibet."

Meanwhile, China on Saturday expressed strong discontent and opposition to the meeting calling it a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

"This grossly interferes in China's internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, and damages China-Mexico relations," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu in a press release.

The Mexican leader met with the Dalai Lama “despite strong objections and representations from China,” the China Daily said in a report today.

The Tibetan spiritual leader arrived on his third visit to Mexico, late Thursday and was received by representatives of Mexico’s Ministry of Interior.

On September 9, His Holiness gave a keynote address on ‘Building Harmony through Altruism and Compassion’ at the Third International Conference on Human Values and Rule of Law.

Addressing the drug related violence that has plagued the northern borders of Mexico, the Dalai Lama blamed education and upbringing for drug and alcohol dependence.

“Keeping these things in mind,” His Holiness said “it is important to pay more attention to altruism and inner values.”

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