Author Topic: Obama meets Dalai Lama at White House, China protests  (Read 247 times)

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Offline mountaineer

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Obama meets Dalai Lama at White House, China protests
« on: February 22, 2014, 09:00:03 AM »
WASHINGTON — President Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House Friday over the stern objection of China, which warned that the meeting would “inflict grave damages” on the US relationship with the Asian nation.

Obama greeted the Dalai Lama while the Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel laureate was in the United States on a speaking tour. The meeting was closed to photographers and, unlike during some previous visits, the Dalai Lama departed the White House without speaking to reporters.

In a statement after the meeting, the White House said Obama offered his “strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions” and for human-rights protections for Tibetans in China. The Dalai Lama told Obama he is not seeking Tibetan independence, and both leaders said they hoped talks would resume between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s representatives.

When the White House announced the meeting late Thursday, China responded almost immediately, urging Obama to cancel it, in what has become something of a diplomatic ritual whenever the president meets with the exiled Buddhist monk. In a biting statement, China’s government accused Obama of letting the ­Dalai Lama use the White House to promote anti-Chinese activities.

“It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry. “It will inflict grave damages upon the China-US relationship.”

Beijing has often protested when world leaders have granted audiences to the Dalai Lama, including when Obama met with him in 2010 and again in 2011. Chinese officials denounce the Dalai Lama as a separatist responsible for instigating self-immolations by Tibetans inside China, but he is widely respected around the world for his advocacy of peace and tolerance.

Obama hosted the Dalai Lama in the White House’s Map Room, rather than the Oval Office, where the president traditionally brings a visiting leader for a round of photographs. The private meeting, closed to reporters despite media requests for access, suggested an attempt to avoid the appearance of a formal meeting between two heads of state.

The White House said Obama was meeting with the Dalai Lama in the visitor’s capacity as a cultural and religious leader. As if to indicate a reaction had been expected, officials reiterated that the US recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn’t support Tibetan independence.

At the same time, officials said they were concerned about tensions and deteriorating human rights in China’s Tibetan areas, urging Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama or his followers without preconditions.
AP via NY Post
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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Obama meets Dalai Lama at White House, China protests
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 01:24:01 PM »

Just come around to the servants' entrance, your Dalainess.

From Slate, "Does China Back Up Its Dalai Lama Threats?
Quote
President Obama is holding a meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House today, and not surprisingly, Beijing is displeased:
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"The U.S. leader's planned meeting with Dalai is a gross interference in China's domestic politics," said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry. "It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations. It will inflict grave damages upon the China-U.S. relationship."

The White House clearly anticipated this reaction, announcing the meeting only last night. Hopefully this year, they can avoid the unfortunate optics of 2010 (above), when the Tibetan spiritual leader was photographed coming out of a back entrance of the White House past piles of trash.

China issues a nearly identical statement of outrage every time a foreign head of state meets with the Dalai Lama, but does it ever follow through on its claims that bilateral relations will be seriously damaged? According to one analysis, it does, but not for very long.

Andreas Fuchs and Nils-Hendrik Klann of the University of Göttingen published a paper in 2010 looking at the effect of Dalai Lama meetings on bilateral trade. Looking at “exports to China from 159 partner countries between 1991 and 2008,” they did find evidence of “trade-deteriorating effect” following meetings between the Dalai Lama and heads of state. (Meetings with lower-ranking officials didn’t have any effect.)

Specifically, “exports to China are found to decrease by 8.1 percent or 16.9 percent” as a result of meetings, however, the effect disappears within two years of the meeting taking place, and primarily affects only “machinery and transport equipment.”

It’s worth noting that the analysis looked only at the Hu Jintao years. It’s not yet clear whether Xi Jinping’s government will take these gestures quite as seriously. It also seems unlikely that the U.S.-China trade relationship—one of the world’s largest—will be affected to the same extent. As Lily Kuo points out, previous meetings between the Dalai Lama and U.S. leaders don’t seem to have had much of an impact.

But the overall takeaway of the analysis is that China does indeed take these meetings very seriously, but isn’t willing to let them get in the way of doing business for very long.

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Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Obama meets Dalai Lama at White House, China protests
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 03:20:18 PM »
China always protests when our government talks to him.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776


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