China is warning France that multi-billion dollar trade ties could be affected if French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets, as planned, with the Dalai Lama in Poland on Saturday.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, told reporters, today th that only under good bilateral relations could trade between the two nations prosper.
China has repeatedly called for Mr. Sarkozy's talks with Tibet's exiled spiritial leader to be canceled. In response to the planned meeting, China has pulled out of an upcoming European Union summit. France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating Tibet's separation from Beijing. The Dalai Lama says he is simply seeking greater autonomy for Tibet.
Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels, the Dalai Lama said he was "seeking a genuine autonomy within China".
The Tibetan exile leader said his movement was not "a separatist", stressing his commitments to "strictly non-violent methods" to achieve his goals.
Earlier, the 73-year-old Dalai Lama urged the EU to stand up to China on human rights.
"Our friends should take a firm stand," he told the BBC on Wednesday. "That I think for the long run is an immense help to the Chinese people."
"[The] Chinese people also want freedom of expression, free media and rule of law," he added. "If you adopt an attitude of appeasement, in the long run [it is] in no-one's interest."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, BBC and Reuters.