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US ignores China, Obama will meet Dalai Lama

Source: PTI
February 03, 2010 09:43 IST
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Notwithstanding the strong objections raised by China, the White House has asserted that US President Barack Obama, plans to meet Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he is in Washington next time.

However, the White House did not announce dates for the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting.

"The President told China's leaders during his trip last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama, and he intends to do so. The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the President will meet him in that capacity," Bill Burton, the White House Deputy Press Secretary said.

At the same time, Burton clarified that the US considers Tibet as a part of China. "To be clear, the US considers Tibet to be a part of China. We have human rights concerns about the treatment of Tibetans. We urge the government of China to protect the unique cultural and religious traditions of Tibet," Burton said.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, P J Crowley, said that China has made its views clear to the US on the Dalai Lama.

"The Chinese have made clear their views regarding meetings with the Dalai Lama, regarding arms sales to Taiwan, and I think what we're clearly indicating is that we will continue to follow our national interest just as we would expect China to follow its national interest," he said.

According to media reports, China had on Tuesday warned Obama that his meeting with the Dalai Lama would harm US-China relationship.

Such a meeting would "harm others but bring no profit to itself either," Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said. He said such a move would "violate international rules".

China will take "necessary measures" to counter it, he added.

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