Relations not harmed, says Chinese ambassador


GREEN PARTY leader John Gormley's recent description of Tibet as a country will not damage Chinese-Irish political and economic ties, the Chinese ambassador to Ireland has said, adding that such "irresponsible" comments did not reflect the Irish Government's position.

Ambassador Liu Biwei walked out of the Green Party conference earlier this month after Mr Gormley accused the Chinese government of human rights abuses during an address to party members.

Mr Liu took particular exception to the Green Party leader's reference to Tibet as a country.

In an interview on RTÉ's Today with Pat Kennyshow, the ambassador said that he believed "some irresponsible words from some individuals" cannot represent the Government.

Speaking through a translator, Mr Liu said the Government had conveyed to him its position of adhering to the one-China policy, recognising that Tibet and Taiwan are both "integral" parts of Chinese territory.

Also speaking on the show yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern acknow-ledged that Ireland had backed the one-China policy for "many, many years" but added that it had been critical on certain issues.

"What we want and what we've called for time and time again is dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese in order to agree that template which the Dalai Lama himself accepts - an autonomous but not independent Tibet," Mr Ahern said.