American Morning

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February 18th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Obama to welcome Dalai Lama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Dalai Lama arrives in Washington, D.C. on February 17, 2010."]

Washington (CNN) - President Obama will meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, on Thursday at the White House despite strong objections from the Chinese government.

The meeting has the potential to complicate Sino-U.S. tensions further, which have been rising in recent months.

China has warned the meeting will certainly damage ties with Washington.

"It will seriously undermine the Sino-U.S. political relations," Zhu Weiqun, a senior Communist Party leader in charge of ethnic and religious affairs, said recently. "We will take corresponding action to make relevant countries see their mistakes."

The Dalai Lama has said he favors genuine autonomy for Tibetans, not independence for Tibet. Beijing regards the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as a dangerous "separatist," a politician who wishes to sever Tibet from China.

Poll: Most Americans favor Tibetan independence

Obama did not meet with the Dalai Lama during his Washington visit last fall, making it the first time since 1991 a meeting with the U.S. president and Tibetan spiritual leader had not occurred. Ahead of a summit with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Obama persuaded Tibetan representatives then to postpone the meeting with the Dalai Lama. FULL STORY

Program note: The Dalai Lama goes one-on-one Monday with CNN's Larry King in his first interview after his meeting with President Obama. Hear his thoughts on China, human rights and the situation in Haiti. At 9 p.m. ET Monday on "Larry King Live."

Filed under: World
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Im so glad to see this meeting getting some mainstream media attention.

    Tibet is a crucial issue for setting a precedent for resolving Human Rights violations and establishing meaningful autonomy for ethnic minorities under chinese influence with non violent means.

    The Dalai Lama is a true world leader through his moral authority not just military or economic domination.

    February 22, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  2. mike-sey

    Most Americans don't know where Tibet is let alone anything about Tibetan social, economic or political history and its relationship with or place in China.

    February 19, 2010 at 8:03 am |