China warns U.S. officials not to meet Dalai Lama

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  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China warns U.S. officials not to meet Dalai Lama | Reuters

    (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry warned U.S. officials on Thursday not to meet with visiting exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, saying it hoped Washington "appropriately dealt" with Tibet-related issues.

    China reviles the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama, saying he supports the use of violence to establish an independent Tibet. He strongly denies either accusation, insisting he seeks only true autonomy for the remote region.

    The Dalai Lama is currently visiting the United States and is due to give a public talk in Washington Saturday.

    The U.S. State Department said he met on Wednesday with Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, but that it remained to be decided whether he would have any meetings at higher levels.

    On Thursday, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other senior U.S. lawmakers also met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing's position on the Dalai Lama's foreign visits was clear.

    "We oppose the underhand visits of the Dalai Lama which he uses to engage in activities to split the motherland," Hong told a regular news briefing.

    "At the same time, we also oppose any foreign government or politicians supporting or abetting in such activities by the Dalai Lama," he added.

    "We hope that the United States strictly abide by its promises on the Tibet issue and ... cautiously and appropriately deal with relevant issues," Hong said.

    The Dalai Lama met U.S. President Barack Obama last year, drawing strong denunciation from Beijing.

    Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement saying Obama should also meet the Dalai Lama to make it "clear that the U.S. sides with the victims in Tibet, not the perpetrators in Beijing."

    "President Obama has an opportunity to make a strong statement about what we stand for by meeting with the Dalai Lama during his current visit, and I urge him to take it," said Ros-Lehtinen, a staunch critic of Communist governments.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said China had complained about the Dalai Lama's meeting with Otero, who is the State Department's coordinator for Tibet issues.

    "The Chinese always make their views known when the Dalai Lama is in Washington," she said.

    (Reporting by Ben Blanchard, additional reporting by Andrew Quinn in Washington; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Eric Walsh)
     
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    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    In Capitol visit, Dalai Lama meets US lawmakers - CBS Atlanta News, Weather, Sports, Traffic - WGCL 46

    In Capitol visit, Dalai Lama meets US lawmakers


    WASHINGTON (AP) - In a rare show of unity, Republican and Democratic leaders found a cause to rally around Thursday: their support for the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

    The Nobel Peace laureate, in Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual, was invited to the Capitol to meet with House leaders.

    His visit already has drawn criticism from China, which regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist troublemaker and bristles at any official recognition of the exiled Tibetan leader. The White House has yet to announce whether he will meet with President Barack Obama as he did, albeit in low-key fashion, on his last visit in February 2010.

    At a joint news conference after Thursday's meeting, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted how the Dalai Lama was able to bring together Democrats and Republicans, who are struggling to narrow their differences over how to bring down the hulking budget deficit.

    Pelosi said that as a boy, the Dalai Lama had received a watch from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. "It's a source of great pride to us that this relationship between our two countries and leaders goes back so far," she said.

    House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, paid tribute to the Dalai Lama and his "tireless dedication to the values we all cherish."

    The Dalai Lama, 76, who fled China in 1959 and is based in northern India, said he explained to the lawmakers his recent move to give up his political authority to Tibet's elected government-in-exile, which China still refuses to negotiate with. He said representative government would mean a more democratic system for Tibetans.

    The Dalai Lama denies seeking independence for Tibet, saying he wants autonomy for Tibet within China. He remains the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Thousands of expatriate Tibetans will seek his blessing during his stay in Washington, his longest visit yet to the U.S. capital.

    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that China's communist-led government expressed displeasure that the Dalai Lama was received officially by a senior department official when he arrived Tuesday. She said no decision had been made whether Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would meet with him.

    While any meetings between the Dalai Lama and Clinton or Obama would annoy China, snubbing the Tibetan leader would draw political fire on the president at home.

    Lawmakers of both parties have called for the Dalai Lama to be received at the White House

    Obama was criticized for not meeting the Tibetan leader when he visited Washington in October 2009, months before the president made a state visit to Beijing.

    Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
     

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