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Tibet issue - China appreciates India's actions

China on Tuesday said Tibet was a "very sensitive issue" in Sino-Indian relations but appreciated New Delhi's action against Tibetan pro-independence protests.

world Updated: Mar 18, 2008 14:44 IST

China on Tuesday said Tibet was a "very sensitive issue" in Sino-Indian relations but appreciated New Delhi's action against Tibetan pro-independence protests.

"The Tibetan issue is a very sensitive one in our relations with India," Premier Wen Jiabao said at his maiden press conference at the ornate Great Hall of the People after being elected to a second five-year term.

"We appreciate the position and the steps taken by the Indian government in handling Tibetan independence activities masterminded by the Dalai clique," Wen told reporters in the first public comments by any top Chinese leader on the most vicious protests against Chinese rule in Tibet since 1989 that have erupted in Lhasa and elsewhere since Friday.

Wen said he enjoyed "broad agreement" with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the Tibet issue. Singh had visited Beijing in January.

Ten of thousands of Tibetan refugees and exiles, including top spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, are staying in India.

India, in a delicate balancing act, had expressed "distress over the unsettled situation" in Tibet and hoped that the "causes" for it would be resolved through dialogue.

The government also asked Tibetans to refrain from indulging in activities that spoil India's relations with "friendly" countries, adding New Delhi "does not permit Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India".