García backs China during violent Tibetan protests

President Alan García concluded his visit to China today by reportedly expressing support for the Chinese crackdown against Buddhist monks in the Tibetan capital Lhasa during the largest protest by ethnic Tibetans against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region since 1989.

According to daily El Comercio, García told Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, “the Peruvian people are always on the side of the Chinese and firmly supports China in its just cause for national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He added that Peru “is conscious of the reasons behind the recent violence in Lhasa,” which the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, fears may have caused up to 100 deaths.

García also said Peru firmly opposes a planned Taiwanese referendum to join the United Nations. The referendum has already been denounced by many other countries, including the United States, Russia, and members of the European Union, who say it will stir up tensions with China and risk peace in the region. It is scheduled for Mar. 22, during Taiwan’s presidential elections.

García was in China promoting objectives to improve Peru’s economic and cultural relations with the emerging market. Before visiting China he also met with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan, which was the first official meeting between leaders of the two nations in nine years.

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