Row escalates as France cancels EU-China economic summit
The diplomatic row between the European Union and China escalated Thursday when France cancelled Monday's planned economic summit with Beijing, the general director of the France- China Committee told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"The Chinese delegation wanted to come. But the French regional authorities found it inappropriate to hold the meeting," Wang Jiann-Yuh said.
The EU-China economic summit, which has been an annual event since 2004, was to have been held parallel to the political summit which Beijing postponed because of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland on December 6.
This year's meeting was to have dealt with cooperation among middle-sized enterprises and the means to resolve the credit crisis, among other issues. Following the summit in Lyon, the Chinese businessmen were to visit companies in the region around the city.
Sarkozy, as well as European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, had been scheduled to address the economic summit.
"The relations between the EU and France with China are now become complicated," Wang said.
Late Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the political summit had been postponed because the government in Beijing was dissatisfied with the plans of Sarkozy, who holds the rotating EU presidency, to meet with Tibet's spiritual leader in Gdansk, Poland.
"The Tibet issue is related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it touches China's interests at the core," Qin said.