Obama to Meet With The Dalai Lama, But China Throws a Fit
February 12, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Despite objections from China, President Obama plans to meet with the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama next week. China responded to the news in typical hysterical fashion, declaring that the meeting would “seriously undermine” relations between the U.S. and the Communist country.
President Obama did not meet with the Dalai Lama, when the spiritual leader was in Washington in October, when the president was about to embark on a trip to China. But the White House said then, that a meeting would take place in the following year.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the meeting at the press briefing yesterday, noting that he didn’t expect the meeting to seriously harm relations with China. “We think we have a mature enough relationship with the Chinese that we can agree on issues that are of mutual interest,” while not agreeing on every issue, Gibbs said.
China called for the cancellation of the meeting yesterday and warned of a breakdown in relations between the two countries. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu issued a statement, saying China was “firmly” opposed to the meeting. And on Feb. 2, Communist Party official Zhu Weiqun, said a meeting would “seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations.”
As pointed out by Bloomberg, “Every president since George H.W. Bush, who served in office from 1989 to 1993, has sat down with the Dalai Lama, usually in private and frequently prompting criticism from the Chinese government.”
The meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama is scheduled for Feb. 18 in the White House map room.