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09:34 May 05 2009

Special ReportNetizen's VoiceMedia Voice
English>>Tibet Online
Dalai Lama's visit may "affect ties"
09:32, May 05, 2009  

Only a month after Sino-French relations got back on track, the Dalai Lama has planned a visit to Paris.

And he could become an honorary citizen of Paris in the process.

It's a move analysts say would affect relations between China and France.

"The Dalai Lama's visit will have an impact on bilateral relations," said Zhao Junjie, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "The Dalai Lama intends to disturb Sino-French relations through his visit at a time when they are developing in a healthy way."

The Dalai Lama is due to visit Paris June 6-8, his spokesman Wangpo Bashi told AFP.

His visit is part of a European tour that includes Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands, Bashi said.

"It is very possible that he will receive the title of 'honorary citizen' of the city of Paris from the mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, but no meeting with leaders of the French government is scheduled," AFP quoted Bashi as saying.

Paris city council, led by socialist Delanoe, approved a resolution in April 2008 to honor the Dalai Lama, but the French government has distanced itself from the local government's move, according to AFP. President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives opposed the measure.

The Dalai Lama received the titles of "honorary citizen" in Rome and Venice in February.

Pang Zhongying, a professor with Renmin University of China, said the impact on bilateral relations of the Dalai Lama's visit is "manageable".

"Sino-French relations, on the whole, are moving in the right direction. The Dalai Lama's visit won't return us to a state of tension again. But the visit will affect people-to-people relations between the two countries," Pang said.

Sino-French relations warmed after several high-ranking French officials visited China, including Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, French National Assembly Speaker Bernard Accoyer and former French president Jacques Chirac.

Bilateral tensions thawed after the two foreign ministries jointly released a communiqué on April 1 stating that France fully recognized "the sensitivity of the Tibet issue" and that France would not support "Tibet independence" in any form.

The same day, President Hu Jintao met Sarkozy on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London, signaling the restoration of ties that were soured by Sarkozy's December meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland.

After Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai, China called off the Sino-EU summit scheduled in Lyon, France and cancelled high-level visits to France.

Source: China Daily

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