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Dalai Lama warns against China containment

The Dalai Lama warns nations not to contain China's economic and military emergence but pressurise Beijing on human rights.

world Updated: Jun 12, 2007 12:50 IST

The Dalai Lama warned nations on Tuesday not to try to contain China's economic and military emergence, but urged countries like Australia to use their trading clout to pressure Beijing on human rights.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, speaking in Canberra, said he shared concerns about growing strategic and trade ties between the United States, India, Japan and Australia, which Beijing has interpreted as moves towards encirclement.

"It is absolutely wrong to isolate China and also contain China. It's wrong, morally also wrong," the Dalai Lama told the Australian National Press Club.

"China must be brought into the mainstream of the world community, and now fortunately China themselves want to join the world community. Most welcome. Very good.

"However ... while you are making good relations, genuine friendship with China, certain principles such as human rights and also democracy, rule of law, free press, these things you should stand firm. That means you are a true friend of China."

The United States, Japan and Australia have said their growing defense ties are not aimed at containing China.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard and pro-China opposition leader Kevin Rudd said on Tuesday they would ignore pressure from Beijing's Canberra embassy not to meet the visiting Tibetan Buddhist leader, despite vague warnings of repercussions.

After weeks of diary searching Howard found he could make time to meet the Dalai Lama on Friday in Sydney. Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat, went back on an earlier refusal and said he would meet him in his office at Parliament House.