Feb. 21 - China's Foreign Ministry urges U.S. President Barack Obama not to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, warning it would ''seriously damage'' ties between the two countries. Rough Cut. (no reporter narration).
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STORY: China urged the United States on Friday (February 21) to scrap plans for President Barack Obama to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama later in the day, warning it would "seriously damage" ties between the two countries.
The White House National Security Council said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices.
China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, maintains he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.
"China expresses staunch opposition to this. We urge the United States to take seriously China's concerns, immediately cancel plans for the U.S. leader to meet the Dalai, and not facilitate and provide a platform for the Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
"The Dalai is a political exile who has long used the cloak of religion to engage in anti-China, separatist activities. The United States' arrangement for its leader to meet the Dalai would be a gross interference in China's internal affairs and is a serious violation of the norms of international relations. It will also seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations," she added.
When asked whether China would summon U.S. officials, Hua said that China had already made "solemn representations" to the United States.
Friday's meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama comes nearly a week after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited China.
It is unclear whether he had briefed China in advance about the planned meeting.
Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president's inner sanctum.
The United States recognises Tibet as part of China and does not support Tibetan independence, but supports the Dalai Lama's approach for more autonomy, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council said.
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