Merkel to meet Dalai Lama amid tension with China
Angela Merkel was set to hold a historic meeting with the Dalai Lama on Sunday that has raised tensions with China and led Beijing to cancel at least one official event.Updated: Sep 23, 2007, 09:32 IST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to hold a historic meeting with the Dalai Lama on Sunday that has raised tensions with China and led Beijing to cancel at least one official event.
The Chinese foreign ministry called in Germany's ambassador to Beijing over the meeting, which will mark the first time Tibet's exiled spiritual leader is received at the chancellery, but Berlin has resisted pressure to withdraw Merkel's invitation.
"The meeting will take place, the invitation stands, and the chancellor also extended the invitation very consciously," deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said on Friday.
He said the government was convinced that the meeting will "not disturb the good state of German-Chinese relations and cooperation" just weeks after Merkel visited China.
But the justice ministry yesterday confirmed that Chinese officials have cancelled a meeting with German counterparts on patent right protection in Munich today for "technical reasons."
In an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Dalai Lama said he was not angry at China's stance but found it arrogant.
"It is simply China's attitude. It is the arrogance of power. Beijing is meddling in the domestic affairs of Germany and demanding that the chancellor should not see me," he said.
"Wherever I go, China protests. The Chinese are simply testing how far they can go. Therefore I do not believe that my meeting with Mrs Merkel will have a lastingly negative impact on Chinese-German relations.