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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Schroeder irked by Dalai Lama meeting

November 12, 2007

By Jiao Xiaoyang (China Daily)
China Daily is an official publication of the People’s Republic of China

Updated: 2007-11-09 07:24

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder criticized his successor
Angela Merkel Thursday for meeting with the Dalai Lama recently and
hoped the present government would mend its way.

"Some recent situations have hurt Chinese people's feelings, and I
regret it," Schroeder told China Daily on the sidelines of a seminar on
China's development and world harmony.

"I am not happy with some of our government's recent moves," he said.

Addressing a gathering during the seminar's lunch break, Schroeder said
Chancellor Merkel "committed a mistake" by meeting the Dalai Lama.

Respecting each other's concern for sovereignty and territorial
integrity is the core of Sino-German relationship, which both sides
describe as "a strategic partnership".

"My predecessors and I refused to meet with the Dalai Lama because of
this consideration, and I hope the incumbent government will adhere to
it, too."

China protested strongly against Merkel's meeting with the Dalai Lama in
September, saying it would "seriously damage" bilateral ties.

But Schroeder said he was confident that Sino-German ties would weather
the storm and be on the right track.

"I believe the Merkel administration is very willing to further the good
relations with China and I believe she still adheres to the one-China
policy."

China and Germany should "look forward" despite the discord, he said,
and the high-level exchanges should be maintained by Beijing and Berlin.
"The importance of Sino-German ties is beyond skeptics despite the
recent problems."

Schroeder said he was happy to see China's economy grow even if it is
likely to cross Germany as the world's third largest by the end of this
year.

"China has 1.3 billion people, whereas Germany has about 82 million," he
said. "There is no cause for panic if China's economy surpasses Germany's."

China's boom is an opportunity because it will create greater demand for
Germany's hallmark high-end industrial products, he said.

A relaxed man

Asked how he feels after being relieved of Germany's top job, Schroeder
said he felt more at ease now and spent more time with his family.

"When I was chancellor, every day I had to ensure that everything with
the government was running smoothly," he said.

"Now I don't have to worry about these things any more."

The former chancellor is now head of Northern European Gas Pipeline's
advisory board and an advisor to French investment bank Rothschild.

"I dreamed of two vocations in my life. One is to be a politician in a
high position that I have been, and the other is to be a lawyer, which I
am working as now," said Schroeder.

"I think I am a blissful man."

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