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Winner of the Miss Himalaya Pageant 2018 Ritika Sharma, First Runner-up Palak Sharma and Second-Runner-up Ashima Sharma wave to the audience during the Miss Himalaya Pageant 2018 in McLeod Ganj, India, on 6 October 2018, Photo: L. Wangyal
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives to begin his four day teaching on the request of a Taiwanese group, Tsuglakhang courtyard, Theckchen Choeling, McLeod Ganj, October . 3, 2018. OHHDL Photo/Ven. Tenzin Jamphel
Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the gathering during the 50th year celebration of Tibet Insitute Rikon. The event was attended by around 4000 people from all parts of Europe. Around 4000 people have come to attend the function organised by Tibet Institute Rikon with support of Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtensein. Winterthur, September 22, 2018. Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal
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China hails German ties after spat over Dalai Lama
AP[Saturday, October 25, 2008 19:38]
BEIJING - Chinese President Hu Jintao praised the state of relations with Germany during a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, suggesting ties between the economic powers had been repaired since a spat over the Dalai Lama last year.

Merkel is making her first visit to China since she received the Tibetan spiritual leader at her office in Berlin in September 2007 _ a decision that infuriated Beijing and led to several months of cool relations.

"I believe that the most important thing is dialogue," Merkel said during her meeting with Hu on Friday.

"I have again stated very clearly that a meeting with the Dalai Lama is a meeting about cultural autonomy," she said. "I believe we have come one step closer to mutual understanding."

Hu said improvements in the relationship were "hard-earned and should be treasured by both sides," the official Xinhua News Agency reported, without mentioning the Tibetan spiritual leader.

China routinely criticizes visits abroad by the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 during a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He is frequently demonized by China's Communist leadership, who accuse him of trying to split the region of Tibet from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama has said repeatedly he is seeking greater autonomy for the Himalayan region, not independence.

Merkel is among dozens of foreign leaders attending a summit of 43 Asian and European nations being held in the Chinese capital, where the global financial crisis will be the major topic of discussion.

Hu noted that economic and trade ties between Germany and China were expanding rapidly despite the world financial slowdown, Xinhua reported.

China is the largest trading partner of the European Union, and the EU is China's second-largest trading partner. Germany is the largest economy within the 27-nation bloc.

Merkel, who took power in 2005, has raised human rights publicly during her trips to China, in contrast to her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, whom opponents accused of soft-pedaling the issue in favor of commercial interests.

Associated Press writer Michael Fischer in Beijing contributed to this report.
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