By Arun Kumar, Washington, Feb 22 IANS | 8 months ago

In the face of objections from China,President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama Friday saying the US supports his "Middle Way" approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China.


Obama's meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel

laureate, who is in the US on a speaking tour, was closed to

photographers, and, unlike during some previous visits, the Dalai Lama

departed the White House without speaking to reporters.

According to a readout of the meeting provided by the White House, Obama

"reiterated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique

religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the protection of

human rights for Tibetans in the People's Republic of China".

He "commended the Dalai Lama's commitment to peace and nonviolence and

expressed support for the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach".

The president, the readout said, stressed that he encourages direct

dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that

produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans.

In this context, the president reiterated the US position that Tibet is

part of the People's Republic of China and that the US does

not support Tibet's independence, it said.

The Dalai Lama, according to the readout, stated that he is not seeking

independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his

representatives and the Chinese government will resume.

Obama and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and

constructive relationship between the US and China, it said.

Obama earlier met the Dalai Lama in February 2010 and July 2011.

Presidents of both Democratic and Republican parties over the past three

decades have met with the Dalai Lama in the White House.

Each time China has responded to those meetings with angry comments

about how they would "inflict grave damages" on the relationship between

Washington and Beijing.

Earlier Friday, China urged Obama to call off the meeting with the Dalai

Lama, calling it a "gross interference in the internal affairs of China".

"It will seriously violate norms governing international relations and

severely impair China-US relations," said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson

for China's foreign ministry in Beijing.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

(Posted on 22-02-2014)

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