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China Postpones EU Summit to Protest Dalai Lama Visit

China has postponed a summit with the European Union next week to protest plans by EU leaders to meet with Tibet's political and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

A statement from the EU says Chinese authorities made the decision because the Dalai Lama will be visiting several EU countries at the time of the summit.

Chinese officials signaled out plans by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to meet the Dalai Lama next week. Because France currently holds the rotating EU presidency, Mr. Sarkozy was to have hosted the summit with China beginning on December 1.

No date for a future summit has been set.

In its statement, the EU said it regrets China's decision. The EU stressed, however, that it plans to continue to promote its strategic partnership with Beijing at a time when the world's financial situation calls for close cooperation.

Earlier this month, China warned Mr. Sarkozy that his plans to meet with the Dalai Lama in Poland in December would hurt relations.

In Poland, the Dalai Lama and Mr. Sarkozy will attend ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize to Lech Walesa, the anti-communist activist who later became president.

The Dalai Lama is also scheduled to visit the Czech Republic and Belgium during his European trip. He is expected to visit the European Parliament while in Brussels.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.