China warns U.S. on Dalai Lama, Stop Visit or Face Consequence
China is flexing its muscle and has issued a warning to the United States, specifically Barrack Obama, to cancel the visit of the Dalai Lama to the White House, early this month, or face the consequence.
China's leadership is particularly upset since Obama canceled an earlier visit by the Dalai Lama prior to his visit to China.
China does not recognize the Dalai Lama as Tibet's leader nor does it view independence or autonomy of Tibet favourable. China does not condone any foreign intervention on this issue, which it considers domestic.
The visit of the Dalai Lama to the White House will be just another irritant in Chinese/U.S. relations. Recent sales of arms to Taiwan have been received with the scorn and criticism of the Chinese Leadership.
Zhu Weiqun, in charge of Policy and Ethnic Issues said:
"If the U.S. leader chooses this time to meet the Dalai Lama, that would damage trust and cooperation between our two countries, and how would that help the United States surmount the current economic crisis?"
Needless to say, China is becoming an economic and military power house and this issue will have to be weighed carefully by the Obama Administration.
China has previously retaliated for Dalai Lama visits. China canceled a summit with the EU when Sarkozy refused to cancel a visit.
"If the U.S. leader chooses this time to meet the Dalai Lama, that would damage trust and cooperation between our two countries, and how would that help the United States surmount the current economic crisis?" said Zhu.
China routinely opposes meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders, especially after violent unrest spread across Tibetan areas in March 2008. Beijing blamed his "clique" for the turmoil, a charge he repeatedly rejected.
Previous U.S. presidents, including Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, have met the Dalai Lama, drawing angry words from Beijing but no substantive reprisals.
But when French President Nicolas Sarkozy would not pull out of meeting the Dalai Lamai while his country held the rotating presidency of the European Union in late 2008, China hit back by cancelling a summit with the EU.
The United States does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, but the U.S. government says it's bound by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to ensure the island is capable of responding to Chinese threats. China has more than 1,000 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan.
"The U.S., heedless of China's resolute opposition, insisted on announcing its arms sales package to Taiwan. This seriously damages China's core interests, as well as China-U.S. relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.