, BEIJING, Feb 3 – China said Wednesday it "resolutely opposes" any meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, after a defiant White House insisted the talks would go ahead.
"China resolutely opposes the Dalai Lama visiting America and resolutely opposes American leaders receiving the Dalai Lama under any name or form," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.
"We urge the US side to clearly recognise the high sensitivity of the Tibet issue and handle related issues carefully and appropriately to avoid causing more harm to Sino-US ties," he said.
Ma noted the two sides had discussed the issue during Obama\’s visit to China in November, when Chinese leaders stated their "firm opposition toward any national leader or government official meeting the Dalai Lama".
He said Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders had clearly asked Obama "to not allow \’Tibet independence\’ separatist forces to carry out separatist activities on US soil" — a reference to the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama, whom Beijing accuses of seeking independence for his Himalayan homeland, is due in the United States later this month.
The monk says he is only seeking greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration rejected Chinese pressure to snub the exiled Ticapitalfmnewn spiritual leader, with a spokesman saying a date for the meeting would be announced later.
"The president told China leaders during his trip last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama, and he intends to do so," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters Tuesday.
"The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the president will meet with him in that capacity," he said on Air Force One as Obama made a day trip to New Hampshire.
Obama avoided a meeting with the Buddhist monk ahead of his China visit, a move that earned him criticism at home.