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China threatens Barack Obama over Dalai Lama meeting | The Australian 10-02-02 12:25 PM

The Australian

China threatens Barack Obama over Dalai Lama meeting


Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific editor
From: The Australian
February 03, 2010 12:00AM

CHINA has heaped further pressure on Barack Obama by warning that a meeting with the Dalai Lama this
month will "seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-US relations".
Zhu Weiqun, the deputy chief of the ruling Communist Party's United Front work department, issued the stern
warning to the US yesterday after leading doomed talks with envoys of the exiled Tibetan leader over the weekend.

While no meeting between the Buddhist monk and the US has been announced, Mr Zhu said "there is no room for
negotiation or concession on the part of the central government" on the core issues concerning the future of Tibet -
only on the personal role of the Dalai Lama himself.
"If the US leader chooses to meet with the Dalai Lama at this time, it will certainly threaten trust and co-operation
between China and the United States," Mr Zhu said.

"We oppose any attempt by foreign forces to interfere in China's internal affairs using the Dalai Lama as an excuse."

The comments follows the row over internet censorship and cyber warfare - which has seen Google threaten to quit
China and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issue a warning to Beijing - and the spat over US arms sales to Taiwan,
which triggered China's warning of an end to co-operation on "key international and regional issues".

And next month, the US President will visit, en route to Australia and Indonesia, the new $17 billion military
facilities, chiefly a marines base, on Guam - which is becoming effectively a US aircraft carrier with swift access to
the East Asian mainland.
White House spokesman Mike Hammer said last month: "The President has made clear to the Chinese government
that we intend to meet with the Dalai Lama. It has been his every intention."

Beijing was gratified when last October the Dalai Lama visited Washington without securing a meeting with Mr
Obama, who was then on the verge of his first trip to China.

Now, it is Chinese President Hu Jintao who has pencilled in a visit to the US, possibly in April. His officials are
determined to deter a meeting with the "splittist" Dalai Lama before then.

The series of threats issued by Beijing in the past few days include cancelling military co-operation with the US, and
sanctions against companies involved in the latest sale of arms to Taiwan - such as Boeing, which is providing 12
missiles to aid the defence against the 1000 missiles targeted on Taiwan by China.

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China threatens Barack Obama over Dalai Lama meeting | The Australian 10-02-02 12:25 PM

Boeing planes comprise about 53 per cent of China's commercial airliners, well above rival Airbus's 36 per cent. The
ramifications of freezing Boeing out of the Chinese market are considerable.

Mr Obama appeared to signal, in his visit to China in November, a desire to build a complementary relationship with
Beijing, with the newly prominent G20 group of leading nations providing a setting for regular "G2" deals struck
between the two great powers.

For instance, while agreeing to sell $7.2 billion of long-promised arms to Taiwan, he withheld the key items on
Taipei's shopping list: new F16 fighter jets and diesel-electric submarines.

China has in recent days, however, ratcheted up the pressure on Mr Obama to be even more conciliatory. It is
difficult for him to respond with comparable belligerence, because he lacks the economic strength to underpin the
required credibility.

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