Obama set to meet with Dalai Lama despite Chinese disapproval

21 Feb

Today, Friday 21st Feb 2014, US President Barack Obama is set to meet with the Dalai Lama amid anger expressed by China.

China’s Government has stated its stance on the meeting, explaining that it will “seriously impair China-US relations”. Despite this the US are set to go ahead with the meeting, the latest since a 2011 meeting between Obama and the spiritual leader of Tibet.

The Chinese have repeatedly disregarded the Dalai Lama as a leader, with him being viewed as a violent separatist in the People’s Republic. In fact, as reported by the Guardian, this week a senior Chinese official said that any foreign leaders who may meet the Dalai Lama should expect to “pay a price” for it. The BBC further reports that Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing was “firmly opposed” to the meeting. This is the latest in years of pressure on foreign leaders to ignore the Dalai Lama as a political representative.

Although the US are set to meet with the Dalai Lama, some believe they have tried to negate the anger expected from China by only holding the meeting in the White House Map Room. This is a room of less importance compared to the Oval Office where Obama privately pays host to foreign leaders from around the world. This perhaps shows that the US Government respects China’s wishes and that the power struggle between the two superpowers is a lot closer than it has been in recent decades. The US is starting to have to make compromises, where it once used to make the demands.

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3 Responses to “Obama set to meet with Dalai Lama despite Chinese disapproval”

  1. rw14g11 February 21, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    This meeting could, without a doubt, jeopardise US-China relations. China is acutely sensitive about this matter – look what happened after David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in 2012. The BBC commentated on this at the time and there was one quote saying that “British leaders should consider the “serious consequences” of meeting the Dalai Lama”. Could this be the case this time?

    BBC (2012) David Cameron’s Dalai Lama meeting sparks Chinese protest, Available at: (Accessed 21st February 2014).

  2. jm5g13 February 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    I think this could be seen as a shift in focus in American international policy away from that of the middle east towards a focus on possibly counter-acting Chinese ambitions in areas such as the south China sea or through the Himalayas with claims on Indian land. China have always raised awareness of such issues such as when the US sought closer military ties with Australia in 2012. Could be seen as just a continuation in the pursuit of this agenda?

    BBC (15 May 2012) Carr: China concerned by Australia-US military ties, Can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-18068204 (Accessed: 22 February 2014)

  3. rw14g11 February 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    In this weekends edition of the ‘FT Weekend Magazine’ there was a great article on the US vs China, arguing that this “is the new Cold War”. It is well worth a read concerning this on-going issue. The US is without a doubt shifting its policy from the Middle-East towards the Pacific. The US never disclose who their competitor is, but everyone knows they are always discussing China. The Pacific is going to be the main region of concern in the coming years, however the likelihood of some form of conflict in the region is slim.

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