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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China's Wen to attend Davos forum

January 21, 2009

The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
 
BEIJING: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will stop in Britain, Germany and Spain when he travels to Europe to attend the World Economic Forum later this month — but he will not go to France, the Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday.
 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy triggered a firestorm of criticism from Beijing when he met with the Dalai Lama last month in Poland. Beijing issued strong complaints and canceled a major China-EU summit planned for December in protest. France held the rotating chairmanship of the European Union at the time.
 
Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry warned that the future of China's ties with France depends on whether Paris can "correct its wrongdoing" over Tibet.
 
China considers Tibet a part of its territory and routinely denounces the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, as a separatist who seeks to end Chinese rule of the Himalayan region. Many Tibetans say they were effectively an independent country for most of the time that China says the region was under its control.
 
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Wen would attend the World Economic Forum of government and business leaders, which starts Jan. 27 in Davos, Switzerland. He will make official visits to Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Britain and the European Union headquarters in Brussels.
 
When asked why Wen wasn't going to France during his trip, Jiang would not comment, saying further details about his trip would be revealed on Thursday.
 
China's ties with the French have been strained over the issue of Tibet since last April when pro-Tibetan activists protested en masse in the streets of Paris as the Olympic flame passed through on its world tour. In return, many Chinese protested, calling for boycotts of French products.
 
Despite the dispute, China has said it is committed to strengthening its strategic partnership with the EU.
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