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By Chris Buckley
BEIJING, Feb 19 (Reuters) - China condemned U.S. President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it was “strongly dissatisfied” and expected Washington to take steps to put bilateral relations back on a healthy course.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement issued early on Friday that the meeting between Obama and the exiled Tibetan leader shunned by Beijing “violated the U.S. government’s repeated acceptance that Tibet is a part of China and it does not support Tibetan independence”.
“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this (meeting),” Ma said in the comments issued by the official Xinhua news agency.
China reviles the Dalai Lama, who wants self-rule for his homeland, as a separatist.
Obama’s long-discussed meeting with him has added to recent strains between Beijing and Washington, which have also traded criticisms over Internet censorship, trade and currency disputes, and new U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China claims as its own.
But Beijing’s latest statement on the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama did not specify any potential retaliation by China and stuck to language it often uses to oppose such meetings, suggesting this particular dispute will not go much further.
The United States should “immediately take effective steps to eradicate the malign effects” of the meeting, Ma said.
“Use concrete actions to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. relations,” he added.
Editing by Michael Roddy