CHINA - EU

Bilateral summit revived after cancellation over Tibet

China and the European Union have put aside their differences and have agreed to hold an economic summit, marking an improvement in relations strained by Europe's warm reception last year for Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

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REUTERS - The European Union and China agreed on Friday to hold a summit soon, marking an improvement in relations strained by Europe's warm reception last year for Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

 

China cancelled a December summit with the 27-nation bloc to show anger over a meeting between the Dalai Lama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who then held the EU's rotating presidency.

 

"We have decided today we will soon have a new summit between the European Union and China," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

 

The Czech Republic, which assumed the presidency from France in January, said in a statement the meeting would take place in Prague and was scheduled for after the London G20 summit of April 2.

 

"The main focus (will) be the financial crisis and both sides agreed it would make more sense to work on the basis of what is agreed in London," one EU diplomat told Reuters.

 

China calls the Dalai Lama a separatist, blames him for unrest in Tibet last year and has tried to stop him from meeting foreign leaders. The Dalai Lama has long said he wants autonomy for Tibet, not outright independence.

 

Barroso said the EU and China had also agreed to hold a high-level meeting on trade in April. China is a major EU trading partner but relations are often strained by anti-dumping measures imposed by the bloc, some of whose members are afraid of cheap imports.

 

Wen and Barroso said they agreed on the need for a global approach in trying to overcome the financial crisis.

 

They also discussed climate change with members of the EU's executive before a planned meeting with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

On his first visit to Brussels in five years, Wen also signed a number of agreements with Barroso covering counterfeiting and piracy, illegal logging, mine safety and civil aviation.

 

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