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China angered as Dalai Lama shares stage in Rajgir with Indian officials

China angered as Dalai Lama shares stage in Rajgir with Indian officials

BEIJING, Mar 20 (Reuters) China expressed anger today after exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama attended a Buddhist conference supported by the Indian culture ministry. "Recently, India ignored China's solemn representations and strong opposition and insisted on inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to attend an international Buddhist conference organised by the Indian government," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. The Dalai Lama also shared the stage with Indian government officials and gave a speech, she told a daily news briefing. "China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this," Hua added. "We urge the India side to clearly recognise the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai clique, abide by its promises on the Tibet issue, respect China's core interests and avoid further disturbances and harm to China-India relations." The Dalai Lama and Indian Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the conference on Friday, the Indian culture ministry said in a statement. Buddha's teachings were especially relevant in a world facing violence, President Pranab Mukherjee said yesterday in a closing address to the conference, held at Rajgir in Bihar. In December, President Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama at his official residence with other Nobel prize winners, the Tibetan leader's first public meeting with an Indian head of state in 60 years. Next month, Indian federal government representatives will meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Arunachal Pradesh, despite a warning from Beijing that it would damage ties. REUTERS RP1851

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