March 3, 2011 By

President Obama to Meet With Dalai Lama at the White House

dUS President Barack Obama will be meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Friday at the White House. Amidst the already strained relations between the U.S and China, the meeting is likely to draw further opposition from Beijing.

Lama, who is a frequent visitor in the U.S, is in the country for a three-week speaking tour. He also has public speaking events in California and Minnesota. The previous meetings between the two leaders, in 2010 and 2011, had angered china saying that it damaged Chinese-American ties. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing was “firmly opposed” to the meeting. In recent years more than one hundred and ten Tibetans, mostly young monks and nuns living in areas outside Tibet, have set themselves on fire in apparent protest against Beijing’s rule.

The White House reiterated late Thursday that the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn’t support Tibetan independence. But the officials said that they were concerned about the tensions and deteriorating human rights in China’s Tibetan areas and urged Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama or his followers without preconditions.

China’s emergence as a leading global economic and military power has strained ties with the U.S. The two countries have also clashed over cyber theft and human rights. Obama usually hosts foreign leaders in the Oval Office. But the decision to meet with the Dalai Lama in the Map room is seen as an attempt to give the visit a lower-profile.

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