Obama's meeting with Dalai Lama to weaken US-China ties: Experts

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Washington, Jan. 3 (ANI): US President Barack Obama's upcoming meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is set to have a negative impact on the US-Chinese relations, and Washington's approval to sell a package of weapons to Taiwan would only worsen the damage, analysts have predicted.

Obama, who made headlines last year when he decided not to meet the Dalai Lama in an effort to appease China, is also preparing to meet the spiritual leader, who is considered a separatist by Beijing.

The Obama Administration is expected to approve the sale of several billion dollars in Black Hawk helicopters and anti-missile batteries to Taiwan early this year, possibly accompanied by a plan gauging design and manufacturing capacity for diesel-powered submarines for the island, which China claims as its territory, The Washington Post reports.

The expected downturn with Beijing comes despite a concerted effort by the Obama Administration for closer ties.

"I think it's going to be nasty. That said the U.S. and China need each other," said David M. Lampton, director of China studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The White House is hopeful, too, that the damage will be limited.

"The U.S.-China relationship is now far broader and deeper than any one issue alone. We will have disagreements but we have demonstrated that we will work together on critical global and regional issues, such as economic recovery, nuclear proliferation and climate change, because doing so is in our mutual interest," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser.

Still, the impending tension comes at a sensitive time.

After hammering out a shaky political deal with China on climate change in Copenhagen, the United States still needs China's help on three pressing international issues: Iran, North Korea and restructuring its economy so that its people consume more and export less.

Administration officials said they are sure China will react negatively to the arms sales and the meeting with the Dalai Lama. (ANI)

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