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Dalai Lama defends Denmark visit after China criticism

world Updated: May 30, 2009 22:27 IST

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Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday defended his visit to Denmark as apolitical after Beijing warned that his meeting with 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 yesterday's 45-minute meeting as private and not political.

China today 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," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

The "meetings severely harmed China's essential interests and relations between China and Denmark," he added.

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

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