China says Obama meeting with Dalai Lama 'to harm ties'

China said a possible meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama would further harm Sino-U.S. relations.

China says Obama meeting with Dalai Lama 'to harm ties'

China said a possible meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama would further harm Sino-U.S. relations.

China has become increasingly vocal in opposing meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders, and one between the exiled Tibetan leader and Obama would increase tensions between the world's biggest and third biggest economies.

There has been widespread speculation that Obama will meet the Dalai Lama as early as this month, when the Tibetan figurehead visits the United States. The White House has not publicly confirmed any such meeting.

Zhu Weiqun, a Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of China's ruling Communist Party, said his government would vehemently oppose any meeting between Obama and the Tibetan Buddhist monk, who Beijing deems a dangerous separatist.

"If that comes to pass, then China will be strongly opposed as always," Zhu, who's department steers Party policy over ethnic issues, said of the possible meeting.

"If the U.S. leader chooses this time to meet the Dalai Lama, that would damage trust and cooperation between our two countries, and how would that help the United States surmount the current economic crisis?" said Zhu.

China routinely opposes meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders, especially after violent unrest spread across Tibetan areas in March 2008.

Previous U.S. presidents, including Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, have met the Dalai Lama, drawing angry words from Beijing but no substantive reprisals.

But when French President Nicolas Sarkozy would not pull out of meeting the Dalai Lamai while his country held the rotating presidency of the European Union in late 2008, China hit back by cancelling a summit with the EU.

The Dalai Lama has said he wants a high level of genuine autonomy for his homeland, which he fled in 1959. China says that his demands amount to calling for outright independence.

China recently hosted talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama, but those talks achieved little.

The United States says it accepts Tibet is a part of China, but wants Beijing to sit down with the Dalai Lama to address their differences over the region's future.


Reuters

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2010, 13:55
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