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US medal award to Dalai Lama opposed
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China resolutely opposes the US Congress's awarding of a so-called Congressional gold medal to the Dalai Lama, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday.


China also firmly opposes any country and any person using the issue of the Dalai Lama to interfere with China's internal affairs, Liu said.


"We have made solemn statements to the US over this issue," he said.


The White House said on Wednesday that the US Congress planned to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional gold medal on October 17.


"We hope all relevant countries would stick to the correct position regarding the Tibet issue. We hope that no one will use this issue to interfere with China's internal affairs," Liu said.


"I believe this statement serves the mutual interests directed at a long-term relationship between China and other relevant countries," he added.


The Myanmar situation


China on Thursday said that the international community should act in a constructive way to help Myanmar achieve stability, reconciliation, democracy and development.


The Myanmar situation was returning to calm and moving in a positive direction, Liu said.


"We hope relevant efforts to this issue will be conducive to the UN secretary-general's mediation and helpful for Myanmar to achieve reconciliation, stability and democracy," he said.


Peacekeepers to Darfur


China has sent a five-man team in advance to Sudan's Darfur, to prepare ahead the equipment needed for the scheduled 315-men engineering unit, said Liu, adding that another 135-man advance troop will also leave for Sudan in the next few days.


"Regarding the question of China’s deployment of a total 315-man engineering unit to Darfur and a possible delay, we will arrange it in accordance with the general layout of the UN," said Liu.


He said that the departure date for other scheduled engineering unit personnel is yet to be set by the UN.


China has committed to sending a 315-men multi-functional engineering unit to Darfur in early October, which would be the first batch of UN-AU peacekeepers in place in Darfur, according to China's Special Representative on African Affairs Liu Guijin.


Colombian hostage issue


"China welcomes the positive efforts by Venezuelan and Colombian governments as well as the international community to help release the hostages at an early date and believes these efforts are conducive to peace, stability and development of Colombia," said Liu.


He made the remarks at a regular press conference when commenting on the recent mediation effort by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.


Liu also said China had closely watched the peace process in Colombia.


In early August Chavez accepted a position as mediator between the Colombian government and the country's rebel groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who have been immersed in armed conflict for over half a century.


The FARC has demanded a safe haven to exchange 45 prominent hostages, including three US contractors and Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, for 500 FARC prisoners.


(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2007)

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