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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China calls on US to 'undo damage done' by Dalai meet

February 24, 2010

By Susan Stumme
AFP
February 23, 2010

BEIJING -- China on Tuesday demandended the
United States "undo the damage done" by a meeting
between President Barack Obama and the Dalai
Lama, while lashing out anew over US arms sales to Taiwan.

The latest angry barrage indicated tensions had
not abated between Beijing and Washington -- an
unwelcome sign for negotiators working on the
thorny North Korea and Iran nuclear dossiers, who
need the world powers to cooperate.

The meeting last week in the White House Map Room
between the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual
leader, and the US president -- who voiced
support for Tibetan rights -- had already
prompted Beijing to summon the US ambassador.

"China demands that the US side seriously regard
China's position and take credible measures to
undo the damage done," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

He also urged Washington to "take concrete
measures to uphold the sound development of
China-US relations", reiterating that they had
been "seriously affected" by the Dalai Lama's
White House visit and the Taiwan arms sales.

"This is something that we don't want to see and
the US side should shoulder the full responsibility for this," Qin said.

Ties between the two sides have been strained for
months over a series of other issues -- from
trade and currency disputes to the future in
China of Google, after it fell victim to
cyberattacks it says originated in the country.

Washington and Beijing are working with other
world powers to coax North Korea back to
six-party nuclear disarmament talks, which it abandoned nearly a year ago.

The United States also is working to secure
China's support for slapping new sanctions on
Iran over its disputed atomic programme but
Beijing -- an ally of Tehran with oil interests
in the country -- has been reluctant to do so.

Qin, who again called for more talks rather than
sanctions on Iran, hinted at the wider diplomatic
implications of strains in the cross-Pacific partnership.

"The development of US-China relations is in the
fundamental interests of both countries as well
as conducive to world peace and development," the spokesman said.

He repeated a threat to "sanction relevant US
companies" over the arms sales to Taiwan, which
China views as part of its territory awaiting
reunification, but refused to elaborate on which
firms would be targeted or when.

The Obama administration last month agreed to
sell 6.4 billion dollars in weapons to the
self-ruled island, which split from the mainland
in 1949 after a bloody civil war.

Washington is bound by law to sell weapons of a
defensive nature to Taipei, but China views the
sales as a threat to its territorial sovereignty.

Beijing threatened to suspend military exchanges
with Washington over the sales, but just hours
before Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, the
USS Nimitz aircraft carrier arrived for a visit in Hong Kong.

The Tibetan monk, who advocates greater autonomy
for Tibet under Chinese rule but is seen by
Beijing as a separatist bent on independence for
his Himalayan homeland, has long been a thorn in the side of Sino-US relations.

He has met every sitting US president since
George H.W. Bush in 1991, drawing Beijing's ire.

But Obama -- hoping to get relations with China
off to a good start during his first year in
office -- did not meet with the Dalai Lama last
year ahead of his maiden trip to Beijing in November.

In an interview with CNN talk show host Larry
King broadcast Monday, the exiled monk said he
feels love in his heart for China but believes
hardliners in Beijing are in denial over their
cultural "suppression" of his homeland.

"Sometimes you see some of these hardliners' sort
of policy, brutalist policy, sometimes I got some
irritation for short moment," the Dalai Lama said
during a visit to Los Angeles.

"Still, yes, I have to sort of make effort to
keep love," said the monk, who fled Tibet into
exile in 1959 and has since lived in India.
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