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An important meeting between India and China has been canceled, after India refused to cancel a speech by the Dalai Lama at a Buddhist conference. India has long provided sanctuary for the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans.
Tensions are flaring again between India and China, two of Asia's largest powers. The latest confrontation comes after the Chinese regime canceled an important meeting to discuss decades old border issues on Monday. The reason -- the Dalai Lama was also giving a speech the same day.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was scheduled to speak on Monday at an international Buddhist conference in New Delhi. The Chinese regime demanded his speech be canceled, but Indian officials refused. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman spoke out against the Dalai Lama.
[Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman]:
"The Dalai Lama is not purely a religious figure, but repeatedly conducts activities to separate and divide China under the guise of religion. We hope that the international community will not offer the Dalai Lama any kind of platform for his separatist activities."
Many countries throughout Asia have been struggling to hem in an increasingly expansionist China. Hotly contested was the Chinese regime's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea and its massive deposits of oil and gas. But Indian companies have gone ahead with explorations for natural resources in the area.
Recent statements made by Chinese authorities calling a northeastern Indian state "south Tibet" have also been unhappily met by India, which now has plans to send tens of thousands of extra soldiers to the region.