China to Obama: Don't Meet Dalai Lama
Move will 'gravely damage' relations, Beijing warns
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2014 1:02 AM CST
Updated Feb 21, 2014 1:30 AM CST
The Dalai Lama sips tea during his sermons at a five-day Tibetan festival in India earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
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(Newser) – China has warned President Obama that he will inflict "grave damages upon the China-US relationship" if he meets with the Dalai Lama today as planned. The White House says the president will meet the Tibetan spiritual leader as a show of concern for human rights in China—a move China's foreign ministry calls "gross interference" in the country's internal affairs, Reuters reports.

Even before the Chinese protest, the White House reiterated that it does not support independence for Tibet. "The United States supports the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China," a spokeswoman said, noting that presidents from both parties have met with the Dalai Lama many times over the decades. This will be Obama's third meeting with the Tibetan leader, and the previous two occasions brought similar protests from China, the AP notes.
 

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