3 Feb 2010

China warns Obama not to meet Dalai Lama

6:12 am on 3 February 2010

China has warned that ties with the United States will be undermined if the US President Barack Obama meets the Dalai Lama.

There is speculation that Mr Obama will meet the Tibetan spiritual leader in Washington later this month, but no date has been confirmed.

A Communist Party official said such a meeting would threaten trust and co-operation between Beijing and Washington.

The BBC reports the dispute is the latest of several strains on the countries' relations.

China took over Tibet in 1950. It considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and tries to isolate the spiritual leader by asking foreign leaders not to see him.

At a press conference to discuss a recent five-day visit to China by the Dalai Lama's representatives, Zhu Weiqun also described the Dalai Lama as a troublemaker.

It was the ninth time the two sides have met since 2002, but Mr Zhu said the positions of both sides remained "sharply divided".