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For Beijing, Tibet is the thorn in the side of China-U.S. relations

November 9, 2009

Asia News
November 7, 2009

On the eve of U.S. President's trip to China,
Beijing calls for guarantees on "security and
national sovereignty." The reference is to Taiwan
and the "Tibet issue", which are essential for a
"growth of bilateral relations". In return China
opens on climate, trade, nuclear and military cooperation.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The outcome of
Barack Obama's trip to China, the first by
election to the presidency of the United States,
scheduled in mid-November rotates around the
"Tibet issue". According to the newspaper South
China Morning Post, the Chinese government wants
a "statement" from the U.S. administration that
"recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Tibet."
Beijing, in return, would be willing to cooperate
on climate issues, economic, commercial, military
cooperation and non-proliferation.

The U.S. President arrives in Shanghai, the
financial hub of the country on November 15 this
year, from 16 to 18 November he will be in
Beijing for a series of high-level meetings.
Obama will also visit the Great Wall and the
Forbidden City. For Vice-Foreign Minister He
Yafei the trip represents "a major event in
Sino-American relations" and it is important for
growth of bilateral relations in a new era. "

Beijing, stressing its willingness to cooperate
with the U.S., however, has launched more than
one message on the issue of Tibet and Taiwan,
while not directly mentioning them. The United
States continues the deputy minister, has "made
promises" on "key issues" for China, and these
promises are an "essential part" for a growing
active "cooperation and bilateral relations."

The protection guaranteed by the U.S., according
to a senior official in Beijing, revolves around
"security and national sovereignty." A
not-too-veiled reference to Taiwan and,
especially, to Tibet, which Beijing considers
part of its territory. In recent weeks the
mainstream media have boosted the campaign of
denigration towards the Dalai Lama, spiritual
leader of Tibet, accusing him of being a
political leader that "seeks independence," and recently branded him a "liar."

U.S. diplomatic sources confirmed the
administrations’ expectations of Obama's
diplomatic mission to China. Several "strategic
issues" hang in the balance, designed to outline
the points on which to base a "future
cooperation". Among these a climate agreement in
view of the Copenhagen summit, trade and economy,
non-proliferation and cooperation in the military.

An American scholar in Beijing believes that
there is a "probability of at least 50%" that
Obama will make a "public statement regarding
Tibet." It is not excluded, however, that the
U.S. president will address the issue "behind
closed doors" to meet the demands of China.

In October, Barack Obama did not want to
officially meet the Dalai Lama, during his visit
to the United States. A decision welcomed by
Beijing, but that has sparked controversy at
home, where the Tibetan spiritual leader - who
since 1991 has always been received from U.S.
presidents - has a strong following among
politicians, intellectuals and movie stars.
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