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China opposed to medal for Dalai Lama
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09:50, October 12, 2007

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The government yesterday expressed its strong opposition to a US decision to award the Dalai Lama a congressional gold medal, urging the US to adhere to the correct position on Tibet.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said China has made solemn representations to the United States and clearly stated its position against the gold medal for the Dalai Lama.

"We are firmly against any country or people using this issue to interfere in China's internal affairs," Liu told a regular press briefing.

"The US government is quite clear about this position," he added.

He reiterated that the Tibet Autonomous Region is an inalienable part of China and the use of the Dalai Lama to interfere in the country's internal affairs do not conform to the long-term development of bilateral relationships.

The White House said earlier that the US Congress planned to award the 72-year-old Dalai Lama its gold medal next Wednesday with US President George W. Bush in attendance.

Gas talks

Also at the briefing Liu announced that China and Japan had launched their 10th round of talks on the joint development of gas and oil resources in the East China Sea yesterday in Beijing.

Liu said China would, in accordance with the agreement reached by the two nations' leaders in April, continue to push forward with consultation with a pragmatic attitude so as to reach a joint development plan acceptable to both countries.

Hu Zhengyue, director of the foreign ministry's department of Asian affairs and Kenichiro Sasae, head of Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau co-chaired the talks.

Engineering unit to Darfur

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu also said yesterday that China would deploy its engineering unit to Darfur according to the UN's overall arrangement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that land problems are delaying the roll-out of the UN-AU (African Union) peacekeeping operation in Sudan's Darfur region.

Liu said the advance engineering troop of five soldiers arrived in Sudan on Wednesday and will shortly be followed by an other group of 135 people.

They will build barracks, roads and bridges for the peacekeeping mission, which is know as UNAMID.

Source: China Daily/Xinhua

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