China, France to Restore High-Level Contacts

The foreign ministries of China and France say the two countries have agreed to resume high-level contacts and renew a strategic dialogue after a lengthy spat over Tibet.

A statement posted on the Web site of the French and Chinese foreign ministries gave few details, but did include a pledge from France to not support Tibetan independence in any form.

Relations between China and France deteriorated sharply last December following a meeting in Poland between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

China voiced its anger ahead of that meeting, and postponed a summit with the European Union in France that had been originally been scheduled for December 1st.

At that time, France held the rotating presidency of the European Union.

China opposes any meetings between world leaders and the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of trying to seek independence for Tibet after 58 years of Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly denied such accusations and says he wants meaningful autonomy for the remote region.

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