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US/China - Tibet

Obama's meeting with Dalai Lama harms relations, says China

Photo: Getty Images

China criticised US President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama on Friday, after the US leader's talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader in Washington on Thursday. A statement from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said it “seriously undermined China-US relations”.

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“The action of the US side has seriously interfered in China's internal affairs,” said the Chinese statement.

The condemnation came following Obama’s 45 minute meeting with the Dalai Lama, and a statement backing the exiled leader’s goals.

“The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China,” said the White House.

Cameras were not present during the meeting, and the Dalai Lama was invited to a private area rather than the Oval Office. Afterwards he spent time with reporters outside and described his mood as “very happy”.

The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai summoned Jon Huntsman, the US Ambassador to China, for what he called “solemn representations”.

However, a US embassy spokesperson said, “now is the time to move forward and cooperate in ways that benefit our two countries,” according to the AFP news agency.

The Dalai Lama also met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and repeated his position on Tibet and China.

“We are fully committed to remain within the People’s Republic of China, for our own interest,” he said.

The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet has now met with every single US president since he met George H.W. Bush in April 1991.

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