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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China warns of damage from Obama-Dalai meet

February 13, 2010

AFP
February 11, 2010

BEIJING -- China on Friday urged the United
States to call off a meeting between President
Barack Obama and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader
the Dalai Lama to prevent further damage to already strained ties.

The White House, in defiance of repeated angry
Chinese protests in recent days, has said Obama
would meet the Dalai Lama next week in
Washington, just as the US leader seeks Beijing's
help in imposing tough new sanctions on Iran.

Beijing has lodged a solemn representation with
Washington, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

"We firmly oppose the Dalai Lama visiting the
United States and US leaders having contact with him," Ma said.

"We urge the US side to fully understand the high
sensitivity of Tibet-related issues, and honour
its commitment to recognise Tibet as part of
China and to oppose 'Tibet independence'," he added.

"China urges the US... to immediately call off
the wrong decision of arranging for President
Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama... to avoid any
more damage to Sino-US relations."

Despite political pressure at home, Obama avoided
meeting the Dalai Lama when the Buddhist monk was
in Washington last year, in an apparent bid to
set relations off on a good foot with Beijing early in his presidency.

Obama, however, told Chinese leaders during his
trip to Beijing in November that he planned to
meet with the Dalai Lama, who is widely respected
in the United States but branded a separatist by Beijing.

Obama knows Chinese support is vital if he is to
succeed in winning unanimous backing at the UN
Security Council for the tough regime of
sanctions he wants to impose on Iran for stepping up its suspect nuclear work.

Next week's meeting in Washington comes at a time
when Sino-US relations have already soured over
the sale of a 6.4-billion-dollar package of US
weapons to Taiwan, which Beijing regards as
Chinese territory. Related article: China says it has 'no dissidents'

Beijing last week said it "resolutely opposes"
the planned visit by the Dalai Lama, who fled
Tibet into exile in India in 1959, and
particularly any meetings with US leaders.

The Dalai Lama, 74, fled his homeland after a
failed uprising against Chinese rule. That came
nine years after Chinese troops were sent to take control of the region.
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