Monday, February 15, 2010

Sending signal over the Dalai Lama

Barack Obama will observe the Dalai Lama in the White House this week. They met once when Mr Obama was just a senator, but what degree of warmth and eagerness will he show as president? After all, he put off meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader before his journey to Beijing due to an unfortunate "clash of diaries".
Now that the meeting is back in the diary, China has once again protested. The president needs a friendly with China, not least over sanctions against Iran, but tensions have been increasing between the two big powers - over trade and the US sale of arms to Taiwan.
All US presidents since 1990 have met the Dalai Lama and it would be noteworthy if Obama kept him at arm's extent. But he doesn't want to turn the well-known affront to Beijing's rulers into something more serious.


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