Obama officials seek postponement of meeting with Dalai Lama

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Washington, Oct.5 (ANI): In an attempt to curry favor with China, the United States has pressured Tibetan representatives to postpone a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama until after Obama's summit with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, scheduled for next month.

For the first time since 1991, the Tibetan spiritual leader will visit Washington this week and not meet with the president.

Since 1991, he has been to Washington ten times. Most times the meetings have been "drop-in" visits at the White House. The last time he was here, in 2007, however, George W. Bush became the first sitting president to meet with him publicly, at a ceremony at the Capitol in which he awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian award.The U.S. decision to postpone the meeting appears to be part of a strategy to improve ties with China that also includes soft-pedaling criticism of China's human rights and financial policies as well as backing efforts to elevate China's position in international institutions.

In explaining their reluctance to meet the Dalai Lama now, U.S. officials told Tibetan representatives that they wanted to work with China on critical issues, including nuclear weapons proliferation in North Korea and Iran.

"They were worried about too many irritating factors all at once," said the Asian diplomat.

A senior administration official denied that the Dalai Lama had sought a meeting with Obama in October and "instead he would like to see him in December."

He said it was "counter-factual" to assume that a meeting had been postponed. The official briefed a reporter on the condition that his name not be used. (ANI)

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