Tuesday, February 2, 2010

China warns against Obama-Dalai Lama conference

The White House confirmed on Tuesday that Obama will meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader hated by Beijing as a "separatist" for seeking self-rule for his homeland.

China's response to the statement underscored the tensions in ties between the world's biggest and third biggest economies, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying President Hu Jintao himself had urged Obama not to meet the exiled Tibetan leader.

Ma Zhaoxu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said his government "resolutely opposes the leader of the United States having contact with the Dalai under any excuse or in any form,"
"We urge the U.S. to fully grasp the high sensitivity of the Tibetan issues, to carefully and appropriately deal with related matters, and avoid bringing further damage to China-U.S. relations," said Ma.

The White House shrugged off Beijing's earlier warnings about the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, which may occur as early as this month.

"The president told China's leaders during his journey last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama and he intends to do so," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters traveling with Obama to New Hampshire.


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