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Dalai Lama says visit to Denmark was apolitical

June 2, 2009

COPENHAGEN, Monday, Jun 01, 2009 (AFP) - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai
Lama on Saturday defended his visit to Denmark as apolitical after China
warned his talks with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen could
affect ties with Denmark.

The 73-year-old Dalai Lama, who was in Denmark as part of a European tour
that will also take him to France, Iceland and Poland, said his visit was
“not political, but spiritual and educational.”

Rasmussen had qualified Friday’s 45-minute meeting as private and not

China on Saturday denounced the meeting.

“Ignoring numerous formal approaches by China, Danish Prime Minister
Rasmussen and Foreign Minister [Per Stig] Moeller persisted in meeting the
Dalai Lama who came to Denmark to carry out separatist activities,” Chinese
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) said in a statement.

The “meetings severely harmed China’s essential interests and relations
between China and Denmark,” he said.

Moeller later deplored Beijing’s negative reaction.

“We regret China’s decision,” he said in a statement, adding that talks
with the Dalai Lama would not change Denmark’s policy of seeking stronger
ties with China.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of wanting to establish an independent Tibet.

The Dalai Lama repeated that he was not seeking independence and expressed
dismay that Beijing continued to label him a separatist.

“We are not seeking independence,” he said, adding that he has “repeated
[that] a thousand times.”
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