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Obama meeting with Dalai Lama rankles China

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House over the stern objection of China, which warned the meeting would "inflict grave damages" on the U.S. relationship with the Asian powerhouse.

Obama will greet the Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel laureate on Friday while the Dalai Lama is in the U.S. on a speaking tour. The White House did not announce the meeting until late Thursday, prompting a gruff complaint from Beijing in what has become something of a diplomatic ritual whenever Obama meets with the exiled Buddhist monk.

Urging Obama to cancel the meeting, China's government accused the president of letting the Dalai Lama use the White House as a podium to promote anti-Chinese activities.

"The U.S. leader's planned meeting with Dalai is a gross interference in China's domestic politics," said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry. "It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations. It will inflict grave damages upon the China-U.S. relationship."

Beijing routinely protests when world leaders grant an audience to the Dalai Lama, including when Obama met with him in 2010 and again in 2011. Chinese officials denounce the Dalai Lama as a separatist responsible for instigating self-immolations by Tibetans inside China, but he is widely respected around the world for his advocacy of peace and tolerance.

Obama was to host the Dalai Lama in the White House's Map Room, rather than the Oval Office, where the president traditionally brings a visiting leader for a round of photographs. The private meeting, closed to reporters, suggested an attempt to avoid the appearance of a formal meeting between two heads of state.

The U.S. had no immediate response to the rebuke from China. But in announcing the meeting earlier Thursday, the White House said Obama was meeting with the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a cultural and religious leader. As if to indicate an overreaction had been expected, officials reiterated that the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn't support Tibetan independence.

"The United States supports the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council. She added that presidents of both parties have met with the Dalai Lama for decades.

At the same time, officials said they were concerned about tensions and deteriorating human rights in China's Tibetan areas, urging Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama or his followers without preconditions.

China, in its response to the meeting, said it had relayed its concerns formally to the U.S. and urged Washington to treat its concerns seriously. China bitterly opposes the Dalai Lama's quest for greater Tibetan autonomy and is wary of Obama's efforts to increase U.S. influence in the region.

Relations between the U.S. and China are already on edge over Beijing's increasingly aggressive steps to assert itself in the region, including in territorial disputes with its smaller neighbors. China's emergence as a leading global economic and military power has strained ties with Washington, and the two have also clashed over cyber theft and human rights.

A frequent visitor to the U.S., the Dalai Lama has lived in exile in northern India since fleeing China in 1959.

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Mr. Sinatra February 21 2014 at 10:21 AM

Just one more in a long series of foreign affairs missteps by his royal highness Nobama. This moron just doesn't get it. Who's more important to maintain relations with? A washed up has-been spiritual pretender, or arguably the most dominant manufacturing force on the face of the planet, and possibly the only one able to keep North Korea in check? What can he possibly hope to accomplish with this meeting? Spiritual enlightenment? Maybe the DL can offer some foreign affairs wisdom to this rank amateur.

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1 reply
ANNE Mr. Sinatra February 21 2014 at 10:59 AM

We made them the power that they are by our government sending all the manufacturing jobs over there, that is how dumb these flipping politicians are. Obviously they know they are owned by that country and they don't care, that is why only this president bends over and takes it from every other country in the world and he does nothing to better our country. HE NEEDS TO BE GONE NOW!

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krist6804 February 21 2014 at 11:33 AM

Doesn’t China have sweetheart TALKS with North Korea and support them in many ways? Well tell China that every time they talk with this sick and radical country it jeopardizes relationships between China and the USA!!

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havanasilkdogs February 21 2014 at 11:45 AM

So China will "inflict grave damages" on the US now? The poison pet food that killed thousands of our beloved pets wasn't grave? The poison baby formula that killed babies was just an empty nanner-nanner? The billions of tons of lead / mercury/ radiation toxic toys and household items made by Chinese child laborers that pour into this country under the guise of good trading practices is just for show? Wal-Mart?
The recent acquisition by the Chinese of Smithfield Foods, the largest supplier of pork to the US, will continue to be above board? The fact that our government keeps allowing these horrors in the interest of Free Trade and the fact that the Chinese OWN most of our most valuable real estate? Seriously, how much more can they actually hurt us? They own us, they poison us, and now they are going to inflict grave damages. Joy.

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RED SKULL February 21 2014 at 11:53 AM

China should " SHUT THE HELL SHUT " in simple American terms. The people who have sucked the blood out of our people ? GO LAY DOWN BY YOUR DISH CHANG MAN.

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Buckingham's February 21 2014 at 12:00 PM

Too bad, China. Welcome to The Machine.

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NJPACKFAN February 21 2014 at 12:06 PM

Rankles China ? LOL What are they going to do about it ? If they really wanted to hurt the U.S., they could always dump their U.S. treasury bonds. Destroy the U.S. without even firing a shot.

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2 replies
jerryeyes1999 NJPACKFAN February 21 2014 at 12:32 PM

The chinese would be onlyhurting themselves if they dumped our bonds.The value of their remaining US bonds would drop in value

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dwc1863 NJPACKFAN February 21 2014 at 12:40 PM

That would also put them over the edge too. They are printing money 4 times as fast as WE are. Their inflation rate is way ahead of our's right now. Not for long though.

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laarsdev February 21 2014 at 12:17 PM

The Dalai Lama is one of the most admired people on earth. The Chinese government would do well to listen to his advice regarding Tibet. What harm would it do China to allow the Tibetan people some degree of self government and autonomy?

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barryaclarke February 21 2014 at 12:25 PM

Now I know why North Korea whines so much about what other countries are doing because it’s a learned ritual from China................

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dwc1863 February 21 2014 at 12:34 PM

Whiners, nothing but whiners. Like spoiled children. We'll take our bat and ball and go home, whaaa.

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rgatsocwrk February 21 2014 at 12:35 PM

Did you know that the Tibetan monks gave us one of the great wonders of the world. The Chinese gave us another. And so it goes. The Chinese and the Tibetans ought to be celebrating together their great achievements. Why aren't they? Soon maybe?

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1 reply
Viper1ex19 rgatsocwrk February 21 2014 at 12:49 PM

As long as any world government continues sponsoring criminals,,, there will never be peace on earth.

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