US/China/Tibet

Obama meets Dalai Lama despite China anger

The Dalai Lama arrives t his hotel in Washington
The Dalai Lama arrives t his hotel in Washington Reuters

US President Barack Obama is to shrug off Chinese objections and meet the Dalai Lama at the White House on Thursday.

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Obama has invited the Dalai Lama to a private meeting. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also meet the Tibetan Buddhist leader.

The Chinese government has called on Obama to cancel the visit, which it says will damage relations between the two countries.

Ties between the two nations have suffered recently after the US announced a 6.4 billion-dollar (4.7 billion-euro) arms sale to Taiwan. The two also crossed swords when internet giant Google claimed it had suffered "sophisticated and targeted" cyber-attacks from inside China.

Recently Beijing taxed American chicken exports after the US imposed tarifs on Chinese tyres.

But experts believe that neither side can afford to sabotage economic relations. Obama is also keen to seek Chinese support in the United Nations for possible sanctions against Iran in relation to its nuclear programmes.

The Dalai Lama has met every US president since George Bush Sr in 1991 with little effect on Sino-US trade relations.

Lodi Gayari, the spiritual leader's special envoy says the Tibetan leader hopes to speak to Obama about global concerns and the situation in Tibet which China occupied in 1950.
 

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