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China blasts US talks with Dalai Lama
Global Times | July 18, 2011 02:58
By Liu Linlin
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China has urged the White House to wipe out the negative impact of US President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, one that Beijing believes will harm Sino-US relations.

"We demand that the US side seriously consider China's stance, immediately adopt measures to wipe out the baneful impact, stop interfering in China's internal affairs and cease to connive and support anti-China separatist forces that seek 'Tibet independence,'" Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a written statement released Sunday.

"Such an act has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged Sino-American relations," he said.

The Chinese side stressed that Tibet is an inseparable part of China and the issue about Tibet concerns exclusively to China's internal affairs.

The Chinese government and people are firmly determined to safeguard the country's key interests and national dignity, said the press release.

Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai also made an urgent summons to Robert S. Wang, Charge d'Affaires of the US embassy in Beijing, to lodge solemn representations over the meeting.

Chinese ambassador to the US, Zhang Yesui, also lodged representations with the US.

The meeting in the Map Room on Saturday is Obama's second in office with the Dalai Lama. They held similar talks in February last year, which was also closed to the press. 

The White House announced the meeting just hours before the Dalai Lama was set to wrap up an 11-day trip to Washington starting on July 6, during which he met top US lawmakers in the Congress.

"The president stressed that he has consistently encouraged both sides to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences," said a White House statement, referring to Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama.

Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times Sunday that Saturday's meetings indicate Beijing's position of disadvantage in China-US relations.

"It appears that US presidents can still meet the Dalai Lama at will in spite of how vocal China is." 

"Boosting strategic mutual trust is the most important consensus between the US and China. The latest meeting was clearly a violation in that regard since the US didn't notify China in advance of the arrangement and defied Beijing's repeated warnings."

Though the international influence of the Dalai Lama has been decreasing, he is still good leverage for the West, Jin added.
"He was portrayed as a peace lover and spiritual leader as a result of decades of efforts by Tibetan separatists and some Western forces."

Yuan Peng, director of the Institute of US Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that in order to secure more domestic support ahead of elections, Obama chose to meet the exile.

"Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama last year, coupled with arms sales to Taiwan, drove bilateral relations to a low point," Yuan said.

With Sino-US relations back on track this year, the US seems to have proceeded with such arrangements with more confidence, he said.

It appears to have become a routine for US presidents to meet with the Dalai Lama since George Bush hold talks with him in 1991, he noted.

US lawmakers and human rights groups had pressed Obama to meet the Dalai Lama and some voiced disappointment that he waited so long to confirm the meeting.

"This meeting is better late than never, but it remains disappointing that the Dalai Lama was squeezed in at the last minute after much apparent hemming-and-hawing from the White House due to objections from Beijing," AFP quoted Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as saying Sunday.

Zhu Shanshan and agencies contributed to this story

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