China urges Obama to cancel meeting with Dalai Lama

BEIJING Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:42pm EST

The Dalai Lama greets the audience before his conference ''A guide to the way of life of Bodhisattva'' in Mexico City, October 12, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

The Dalai Lama greets the audience before his conference ''A guide to the way of life of Bodhisattva'' in Mexico City, October 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Edgard Garrido

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China urged the United States on Friday to scrap plans for U.S. President Barack Obama to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama later in the day, warning that the planned meeting would "seriously damage" ties between the countries.

The White House National Security Council said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices.

Obama's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama is a "gross interference" in China's internal affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on the ministry's website.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Ben Blanchard)

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