16 Jul 2011

Cancel Dalai Lama meeting, China tells Obama

8:46 pm on 16 July 2011

China is urging the United States to cancel a planned meeting between President Barack Obama and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, saying such a meeting would be harmful to US-China relations.

The private meeting, to be held on Saturday, is expected to last 30 minutes. The White House says it is intended to show the US President's support for Tibet's identity.

China's Foreign Ministry says the country firmly opposes any senior foreign government officials meeting with the Dalai Lama in any way.

It has called on the United States to cancel as soon as possible the decision for President Obama to meet the Dalai Lama and not do anything that could interfere with China's internal affairs or harm relations between Beijing and Washington.

The BBC reports that the last meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama in February 2010 drew strong condemnation from China.