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Czech leaders reassure China as Dalai Lama visits

AFP  |  Prague 

Czech leaders sought to stave off China's anger in a statement, a day after exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the arrived in Prague.

The statement yesterday came as Chinese firms poured fresh investment into the Czech Republic, for a value expected to reach a total of several billion euros.

The Czech president, prime minister and two parliamentary speakers said that the EU nation "respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of

"We consider the relationships between our countries and their remarkable development in recent years most beneficial for both parties," the statement added.

Czech President Milos Zeman, an ex-Communist in office since 2013, has promoted friendly relations with both and

accuses the of supporting separatism and violence in Tibet, a region it has ruled since 1951.

The fled to after a failed uprising in 1959, but is still deeply revered by many Tibetans in and beyond.

He arrived in Prague on Monday to attend the pro-democracy Forum 2000 conference, co-founded in 1996 by former Czech president Vaclav Havel.

Since Havel died in 2011, Czech foreign policy has taken a turn eastwards.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Prague with a business delegation in March.

China's CEFC, one of the country's top 10 private firms, recently spent around a billion euros on stakes in a Czech airline, a brewery, two media groups and a top football team.

During his visit to Prague, the Dalai Lama met politicians from the small centrist Christian Democrats party, the junior partner in the leftist-led coalition government.

"The private activities of some Czech politicians do not signal a change in the Czech Republic's official policy and we would consider it unfortunate if someone perceived them as such," said the leaders.

Before coming to Prague, the Tibetan spiritual leader met Slovak President Andrej Kiska in Bratislava, angering which threatened retaliation, according to local media.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 19 2016. 03:48 IST