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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Obama Dalai Lama meeting 'on' despite Chinese protest

February 3, 2010

BBC
February 2, 2010

US President Barack Obama intends to go ahead
with plans to meet the Dalai Lama despite
warnings from China not to, a White House spokesman has said.

Mr Obama told China's leaders last year in
Beijing that he would meet with the Tibetan
spiritual leader, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.
China has warned that ties with the US would be
undermined if the meeting takes place.

No date has been set but it is expected to take place later this month.

"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," White House
spokesman Bill Burton told reporters.

"The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected
religious and cultural leader and the president
will meet with him in that capacity," he said.

The comments came after Communist Party official
Zhu Weiqun said such a meeting would "threaten
trust and co-operation" between Beijing and Washington.

'Tibetan separatist'

Relations between the world's largest and
third-largest economies have already been
strained by trade disputes, US arms sales to
Taiwan and a row over internet censorship.

China, which took over Tibet in 1950, considers
the Dalai Lama a separatist and tries to isolate
the spiritual leader by asking foreign leaders not to see him.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed
uprising against Chinese rule and has been living in India since then.

Mr Obama declined to see the Dalai Lama last year
when he visited the US, saying he would meet him later.

A White House spokesman said last month that the
two men intended to meet when the Tibetan monk
visited Washington later in February.

"If the US leader chooses to meet with the Dalai
Lama at this time, it will certainly threaten
trust and co-operation between China and the
United States," said Mr Zhu, executive deputy
minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department.

"We oppose any attempt by foreign forces to
interfere in China's internal affairs using the
Dalai Lama as an excuse," he said.

Mr Zhu was speaking at a press conference to
discuss the recent five-day visit to China by the Dalai Lama's representatives.

The Tibetans repeated their hopes for greater
autonomy for the Himalayan region, but Mr Zhu
said there was no possibility of the "slightest
compromise" on the issue of sovereignty in Tibet.

The two sides have held a number of meetings on Tibet's status since 2002.
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