A human rights activist holds flares in front of a Tibetan flag as he demontrates near the Effeil tower in Paris in 2008. EU and Chinese leaders are to focus on tackling the economic crisis at a summit, but lingering tensions over the Dalai Lama will cast a long shadow over the meeting in Prague. (AFP/File/Patrick Kovarik)
BEIJING — Premier Wen Jiabao will attend a summit with Europe this week to show Beijing's desire to work with the EU, China said Tuesday, while warning European nations against welcoming the Dalai Lama.
Wen will attend the China-EU summit in Prague Wednesday, meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
The summit was originally set for December last year but China called it off to protest against a meeting between the Tibetan spiritual leader and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who then headed the European Union's rotating presidency.
"All in all we would like to work with the EU and seize this opportunity to jointly promote our strategic partnership," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told journalists.
"Premier Wen Jiabao's participation in this meeting itself shows and displays China's sincerity."
Ma said a series of cooperative agreements would be signed at the summit, which aims to address the global economic crisis, but he refused to reveal any details.
He further reiterated China's belief that the Dalai Lama was aiming to establish an independent Tibet, despite years of public statements by the Buddhist leader denying any such intention.
"The true purpose of the Dalai in visiting other countries is to promote Tibetan independence and destroy the friendly relations between China and relevant countries," Ma said.
"The Chinese government firmly opposes the Dalai Lama's engagement in separatist activities in any country under whatever capacity," he said in response to a question about a scheduled June visit to France by the Dalai Lama.
During the summit, Wen is expected to urge the EU to relax limits on high-tech exports to China and review its anti-dumping policies.
At high-level talks in Brussels earlier this month, EU commissioners and a Chinese delegation headed by Vice Premier Wang Qishan agreed that trade and investment would lead the way to economic recovery.
Two-way trade has exploded in recent years making the European Union the top destination worldwide for exports of Chinese goods while China is Europe's biggest trade partner after only the United States.
Last year they traded 326 billion euros (441 billion dollars) in goods with Europe running a 169.4 billion euros deficit with China.