China said Thursday French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to meet with the Dalai Lama — hated by Beijing — left it no option but to pull out of an upcoming China-European Union summit.
Sarkozy's decision "deprived the EU-China summit of the required good atmosphere and made it impossible for it to obtain the anticipated result," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web site.
"We resolutely oppose the Dalai traveling to other countries in any capacity to carry out activities aimed at splitting China. We resolutely oppose foreign leaders having any form of contact with the Dalai," Qin said.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed sadness at China's decision to postpone the summit, saying it was "incomprehensible" that China would do so despite the goodwill shown by Sarkozy when he attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in August.
"I hope that China will quickly forget this episode," Kouchner told reporters, insisting that France-China relations remain "friendly and fraternal."
The cancellation, first announced Wednesday by would-be summit host France, was a dramatic example of the lengths to which Beijing will go to try to internationally isolate Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader. The Dalai Lama fled the Himalayan region for India amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
Information for this report was provided by AP