Obama Tells Lama to Stay Away

Move seen as an effort to avoid annoying the Chinese
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 7:46 AM CDT
President Barack Obama greets China's President Hu Jintao during a group photo at the G-20 summit, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009 in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – In a move seemingly designed to appease China, US officials have asked the Dalai Lama not to meet with President Obama when he visits Washington this week. Typically, the Lama “drops in” on the White House whenever he’s in the capital, but Obama doesn’t want to meet with him until after his summit with China’s Hu Jintao next month, diplomats tell the Washington Post.

US officials told Tibetan representatives that they considered upcoming proliferation talks critical, and hinted that they were considering selling weapons to Taiwan, which would also anger Beijing, according to one Asian diplomat. “They were worried about too many irritating factors all at once.” It’s unclear however if they’re bowing to specific demands, or simply trying “to throw the Chinese a bone.” But a senior administration official says the Lama has never requested an October meeting and that it's "counter-factual" to say one has been postponed. (Read more Dalai Lama stories.)