The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama, rejecting pressure from Beijing against meeting with the Tibetan leader.
AFP - The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama, rejecting Chinese pressure to snub him amid escalating disputes between the Pacific powers.
"The president told China leaders during his trip last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama, and he intends to do so," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One en route to New Hampshire.
"The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the president will meet with him in that capacity," he said.
He did not give a date, but the Dalai Lama is due in the United States later this month for public teachings in California and Florida.
"We'll announce a date as it comes closer," Burton said.
China has stepped up its warnings for Obama not to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader after the Obama administration irritated Beijing by selling arms to Taiwan.
Burton reaffirmed the US stance that it considers Tibet, where Beijing sent troops in 1950, to be a part of China.
"To be clear, the US considers Tibet to be a part of China," he said.
But he added: "We have human rights concerns about the treatment of Tibetans. We urge the government of China to protect the unique cultural and religious traditions of Tibet."
"As the president has expressed, we expect that our relationship with China is mature enough where we can work on issues of mutual concern, such as climate, the global economy and nonproliferation, and discuss frankly and candidly those issues where we disagree," he said.
"The president is committed to building a positive, comprehensive and cooperative relationship with China."
Date created : 2010-02-02