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Irked by Dalai Lama-Obama meeting, China warns world about interfering in Tibet

March 5, 2010

March 4, 2010

Dharamsala, March 4 -- China on Thursday launched a fresh warning to
foreign countries not to interfere in its affairs in Tibet and Taiwan
- two issues that have badly strained ties with the United States,
AFP reported.

Washington irked Beijing in January when it approved the sale of a
$US6.4 billion package of arms to Taiwan, and then again a month
later when US President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House.

Without referring specifically to the US leader, a Chines government
spokesman said Western leaders should have better things to do than
meet with the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

"Although Western leaders are very busy with their work... they still
take the time to see the Dalai Lama," Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the
National People's Congress (NPC), told a press conference.

"We can't understand this, and when Chinese people hear about this
they are very angry," Mr Li, a former foreign minister, said on the
eve of the opening of the NPC's annual session.

The National People's Congress -- China's rubber-stamp parliament --
will open to endorse the decisions of the Communist Party elite when
it begins its nearly two-week session Friday.

"Some people believe the sweet words of the Dalai, he says that he
doesn't support Tibet independence, but more importantly we watch his
actions," Mr Li said.

The Dalai Lama says he is only seeking greater freedom for Tibetans
in their own affairs and that his role is to act as a "free
spokesperson" for Tibetans who are oppressed under Chinese rule.

On Taiwan, Mr Li said it was "totally unacceptable" for foreign
governments to interfere in China's affairs by selling arms to the
island - a thinly veiled warning to Washington.

"At a time when the Chinese people across the Taiwan Strait are
carrying out friendly exchanges as brothers, the advanced arms sales
to Taiwan by a certain country is like handing a dagger to one person
when he is hugging his brother," Mr Li said.

Washington approved the sale of Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot
missiles and and communications equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet,
but did not include the submarines or new fighter jets.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and top Obama aide
Jeffrey Bader were in Beijing this week for fence-mending talks with
Chinese officials.
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