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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."

Merkel's Dalai Lama Meeting Prompts German Placation of Chinese

September 25, 2007

By Andreas Cremer
Bloomberg
September 24, 2007

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Germany took steps to repair relations with
China after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama, angering
the government in Beijing.

Christoph Heusgen, Merkel's foreign policy adviser, phoned China's
ambassador to Germany, Ma Canrong, today to assure him of Merkel's
commitment to pursuing closer bilateral ties, according to government
spokesman Thomas Steg.

``Heusgen assured the Ambassador that we share great interest in
continuing, intensifying and promoting our good ties with China,'' Steg
told a regular news conference in Berlin.

The assurance came less than 24 hours after Merkel met with the exiled
Tibetan leader at the Chancellery in Berlin, shrugging off a Chinese
Foreign Ministry warning last week that it ``resolutely opposes''
meetings between the Dalai Lama and ``officials of any country.''

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi canceled a planned breakfast with
his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the annual United
Nations General Assembly in New York this week, citing ``scheduling
reasons,'' German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger told the same
news conference.

A Chinese delegation also canceled its planned attendance at an annual
conference on bilateral judicial issues in Munich yesterday because of
``technical reasons,'' Justice Ministry spokeswoman Eva Schmierer said.

Steg defended Merkel's decision to meet the Dalai Lama, saying ``such
talks should be made possible without causing strains to our good
relations.''

`Beyond Doubt'

``There will be no change in our policy toward China,'' Steg said,
adding: ``China's territorial integrity is beyond doubt.''

Tibet, under Chinese authority since the 1750s, had varying degrees of
autonomy until the Chinese Communist Party arrived in 1950, prompting a
failed revolt in 1959, after which the Dalai Lama fled to India. The
Dalai Lama has since called for Tibetan self-rule.

Merkel, who travels to New York today to address a UN climate-change
summit and then the General Assembly, has no plans to meet with Chinese
leaders in the U.S., Steg said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andreas Cremer in Berlin at
acremer@bloomberg.net .

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