China and France Sign Deals as Tensions Over Tibet Ease

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao hosted his French counterpart, Francois Fillon, for talks in Beijing Monday, signaling that a disagreement over Tibet has eased.

The men met at the Great Hall of the People, where Mr. Wen said both sides agreed to advance their partnership. He said he felt like he and Fillon were friends, even though it was their first meeting.

The men oversaw the signing of several agreements, including a multi-billion dollar deal for French defense contractor Safran and U.S. conglomerate General Electric to supply engines for China's newest passenger jets.

Diplomatic and trade ties between the countries were not always as warm last year.

Beijing canceled a major China-European Union summit after French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating Tibet's separation from China. The Dalai Lama says he is simply seeking greater autonomy for Tibet, not independence.

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