Dalai Lama Cancels Trip to Belgium

The Dalai Lama is calling off a planned trip to Belgium this week in order to avoid difficulties for a Belgian economic mission to China.

The exiled 71-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader had been scheduled to join a gathering of Tibetan groups on Friday in Belgium's capital, Brussels.

The Dalai Lama says he decided not to visit Brussels at this time because of unspecified pressure from Beijing regarding a coming visit by Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and a Belgian economic mission to China.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of trying to divide the country by seeking Tibetan independence.

China's army took control of Tibet in 1951 and Beijing claims sovereignty over the region.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops suppressed an uprising. He leads a government-in-exile from Dharamsala, India and is still revered in Tibet.

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