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Chinese premier phones Merkel, invites Germans to see Tibet

February 18, 2008

Berlin, 15 Feb (DPA) - Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao spoke by phone Friday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and invited German political figures to take their own first-hand look at Tibet, a Berlin spokesman said. The call represented a rewarming after the chill that arose when Merkel saw the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, in her office last year.

German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said Merkel and Wen agreed to improve relations and step up visits in both directions. They would work together to prepare for the G8 summit this June in Japan.

Wilhelm said Merkel had reiterated Berlin's one-China policy, saying occasional differences of opinion did not alter that stance. Wen had praised Berlin for opposing any referendum in Taiwan on independence.

Under the one-China policy, the main world powers do not recognize Taipei.

Wen had said German political figures should visit Tibet to see the situation there for themselves. Tibet has been under Chinese control since the 1950s.
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