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4november20094China yesterday accused His Holiness the Dalai Lama of seeking to undermine Beijing's relationship with Delhi through his forthcoming visit to the disputed border state of Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India.

Speaking at a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu repeated earlier criticism of the his Holiness for "separatist" activities. "The Dalai Lama often lies and often engages in acts to sabotage China's relations with other countries," he said. "I am confident that his scheme to wreck China's relations with the relevant country will come to nothing."

His Holiness is due to begin his visit to Arunachal Pradesh on November 8. China claims about 90,000 square kilometers of the state as part of its own territory, viewing it as "southern Tibet".

The Indian media has widely interpreted Mr Ma's attack on His Holiness as a means of turning the spotlight away from current tensions between Beijing and Delhi over the border dispute and visa issues. Delhi recently cut back on business visas to curb the flow of unskilled labour into India, much of it Chinese.

Rejecting Beijing's objections to the Tibetan leader's visit to Arunachal, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last week that His Holiness is "an honoured guest" of India, adding that, "We do not allow Tibetan refugees to indulge in political activities."

Later, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters, "There is no strain in bilateral ties," and commented that the resolution of outstanding issues like the border dispute would take some time and entail greater political will on the part of both countries.

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