Quarreling about the Dali Lama trivializes relationship
When I read that China and the US are willing to have their relationship put at risk over the President’s meeting with the Dali Lama, I was underwhelmed. I know that the Dali Lama is a symbol for religious freedom and the China has an ongoing feud with Tibetans about his influence and that of their faith. I guess that is what makes the matter symbolically important.
Yet, it would be more impressive if the US President sat down with Chinese leadership and discussed the issue of individual freedom and liberty first hand. Would it not be great to have State Department representatives meet with comparable Chinese leaders to put divisive issues on the table for open discussion and debate for the purpose of defining problems and pointing to solutions forthrightly.
At this point in history, wading around in symbolism is the long way around to getting to the heart of the matter, IMO.
“U.S.-China relationship shifts toward deep mistrust
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 7, 2010; 8:14 PM
BEIJING - When President Obama came to China a year ago, on his first official Asian trip, he spoke of the "deep and even dramatic ties" between the two powers that would work as partners on shared global burdens such as climate change, nonproliferation and the world economy.
On his return to Asia - a trip that pointedly bypasses China - the talk of partnership and shared burdens has been largely replaced by a deep mutual mistrust, with widespread disappointment on both sides.
In the intervening 12 months, Chinese leaders became infuriated when Obama met with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom China has branded a separatist criminal, and when Washington announced plans to sell sophisticated weapons to Taiwan.
U.S. officials tried in vain to get China's leaders in May to condemn its ally North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean warship, and then became alarmed atBeijing's bellicose response to a September incident involving a Chinese fishing boat and a Japanese patrol ship around a group of disputed, uninhabited islands.
In between there have been disputes over trade - involving tires, car parts and chicken- and questions of whether China is manipulating its currency.”