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French President supportive of Dalai Lama, but fears offending China

French President Emmanuel Macron answers a question from student in the audience during a town hall meeting at George Washington University in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2018.   (Photo courtesy: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
French President Emmanuel Macron answers a question from student in the audience during a town hall meeting at George Washington University in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2018. (Photo courtesy: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

(TibetanReview.net, Apr27, 2018) – French President Emmanuel Macron has on Apr 25 described as “very inspiring” his meeting in Paris with the Dalai Lama, when he was a candidate. However, he has then rejected any prospect of meeting with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader as President, saying doing so without consulting Beijing first would trigger a “crisis” with the Chinese government, reported the AFP Apr 26.

Speaking at a town hall with George Washington University students in the US capital at the tail end of his state visit, Macron has said, “Now I’m president of the French Republic. If I meet him it will create indeed a crisis with China.”

He has said doing so “without any precondition”, just to send a signal to China, would be “useless and counterproductive.”

“Is it good for my people if I have a sort of countermeasures coming from China as a result of the meeting?” he was quoted as having asked, answering, “For sure no.”

However, he has then added, “If France could be useful in order to fix the situation between the Dalai Lama and his people, and China, I will do my best.”

He has spoken of having perceived “some early signals” that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be open to addressing the issue.

And he has added: “I hope so for China, I hope so for the Dalai Lama, I hope so for Buddhist people.”

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