Barack Obama to meet Dalai Lama amid strained China-US ties
Feb 21, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Feb 21, 2014 12:00 am
Beijing condemns ‘gross interference’ as relations remain strained by territorial disputes with Japan and others in region
Barack Obama is to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, at the White House on Friday – with the Chinese government immediately condemning it is a "gross interference" in China's internal affairs that will "seriously damage" relations with Washington.
Obama's announcement of a midmorning session with the Dalai Lama was sure to draw a reprimand from China, which views him as a violent separatist because he seeks more autonomy for Tibet. In its announcement the White House said the Dalai Lama was "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader" and noted Obama had met with him twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.
In what appears to be a small concession to the Chinese, Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important place but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president's inner sanctum.