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China: France should work to repair strained ties

December 10, 2008

International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
 
BEIJING: China urged France on Tuesday to "take responsibility and concrete measures" to repair strained ties stemming from a weekend meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama.
 
Beijing did not say whether it was planning any economic sanctions against French businesses after Sarkozy held talks in Poland with the Tibetan spiritual leader whom China considers a separatist. China has called the meeting "rude intervention" in Chinese affairs.
 
"China has never done anything that undermines the interests of France," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. "We urge the French side to take responsibility and concrete measures to correct the erroneous practice and create favorable conditions and atmosphere for the development of China-France relations."
 
Liu refused to elaborate on what China meant by "concrete actions," saying it was an "issue for the French side to study and discuss."
 
Sarkozy has sought to soften the impact of the meeting and avoid a repetition of a backlash against French goods sparked by pro-Tibetan protests on the streets of Paris earlier this year. The French president said Monday that China was "one of the greats of the world" and that he "always thought there was only one China."
 
French business leaders have said they are worried about the trade implications of tense Franco-China relations. Trade retaliation is one of the most potent weapons in China's arsenal as businesses all over the world compete for a piece of China's large economy.
 
China postponed a planned summit with the European Union, due to be hosted in the French city of Lyon earlier this month, in protest over Sarkozy's meeting. About 150 Chinese businessmen had been expected to meet with European counterparts at the sidelines of the meeting.
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