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China says wants to work with EU, but warns over Dalai Lama

May 20, 2009

EU Business
May 19, 2009

BEIJING -- Premier Wen Jiabao will attend a
summit with Europe this week to show Beijing's
desire to work with the EU, China said Tuesday,
while warning European nations against welcoming the Dalai Lama.

Wen will attend the China-EU summit in Prague
Wednesday, meeting with Czech President Vaclav
Klaus, European Commission president Jose Manuel
Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The summit was originally set for December last
year but China called it off to protest against a
meeting between the Tibetan spiritual leader and
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who then headed
the European Union's rotating presidency.

"All in all we would like to work with the EU and
seize this opportunity to jointly promote our
strategic partnership," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told journalists.

"Premier Wen Jiabao's participation in this
meeting itself shows and displays China's sincerity."

Ma said a series of cooperative agreements would
be signed at the summit, which aims to address
the global economic crisis, but he refused to reveal any details.

He further reiterated China's belief that the
Dalai Lama was aiming to establish an independent
Tibet, despite years of public statements by the
Buddhist leader denying any such intention.

"The true purpose of the Dalai in visiting other
countries is to promote Tibetan independence and
destroy the friendly relations between China and relevant countries," Ma said.

"The Chinese government firmly opposes the Dalai
Lama's engagement in separatist activities in any
country under whatever capacity," he said in
response to a question about a scheduled June
visit to France by the Dalai Lama.

During the summit, Wen is expected to urge the EU
to relax limits on high-tech exports to China and
review its anti-dumping policies.

At high-level talks in Brussels earlier this
month, EU commissioners and a Chinese delegation
headed by Vice Premier Wang Qishan agreed that
trade and investment would lead the way to economic recovery.

Two-way trade has exploded in recent years making
the European Union the top destination worldwide
for exports of Chinese goods while China is
Europe's biggest trade partner after only the United States.

Last year they traded 326 billion euros (441
billion dollars) in goods with Europe running a
169.4 billion euros deficit with China.
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