BEIJING: China has dismissed reports that its foreign minister put off his visit to New Delhi last month to attend a Russia-India-China or RIC meeting to protest India’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to travel to Arunachal Pradesh.
The meeting of foreign ministers of Russia India and China to be held in New Delhi in April was put off as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declined to attend it. “About the meeting that was to be held last month, as far as I know the reason is not China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here when asked about Beijing’s reported refusal to the attend the trilateral meeting.
He said China pays attention to the trilateral cooperation mechanism under which the three foreign ministers meet annually to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues. “We have actively participated in the meeting of foreign ministers and also other activities under the framework,” Mr Geng said.
“According to my information, the three countries are now talking about the schedule of the next foreign ministers meeting. They are maintaining communication and consultation,” he said.
Chinese officials said Mr Wang could not confirm his participation in the meeting due to scheduling problems.
When asked about reports that Beijing has asked US President Donald Trump not to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader, Mr Geng said, “China objects to foreign leaders meeting the Dalai Lama.” The Dalai Lama’s meetings with Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and former US presidents have drawn protests from China.
Asked whether China has made the specific request to Donald Trump, Mr Geng said that Beijing is firmly opposed to any foreign leaders meeting the Dalai Lama. “The 14th Dalai Lama is not a simple religious figure, but has long engaged in anti-China separatist activities. He is a political exile. We firmly oppose any foreign countries which allow him to visit them or any foreign official having any official exchange with him,” he said.
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