Tuesday, February 2, 2010
China Threatens US w/ Economic Sanctions Over Dalai Lama Visit
China Warns Obama Against Meeting Dalai Lama
(Feb. 2) -- China is warning President Barack Obama that if he meets with the Dalai Lama, it will undermine U.S.-China relations and even hurt America's prospects for economic recovery.
The Dalai Lama, a Buddhist monk, is the spiritual head of his coreligionists in Tibet, and lobbies for self-rule in the mountainous area that China claims as its own. He lives in exile in India but travels frequently. Beijing considers the Dalai Lama a separatist terrorist, and resents his high profile overseas and the warm reception he often gets from foreign leaders.
The exiled Tibetan leader plans to visit the U.S. later this month, including a stop in Washington, and the White House has said Obama has "every intention" of meeting him. "The president has made clear to the Chinese government that we intend to meet with the Dalai Lama," spokesman Mike Hammer said last month. No official date has been released.
Zhu Weigun, executive deputy head of the Communist Party's United Front Work Department, said today that such a meeting would "seriously undermine the political foundation of Sino-U.S. relations."
"If the U.S. leader chooses to meet with the Dalai Lama at this time, it will certainly threaten trust and cooperation between China and the United States," Zhu said. "We oppose any attempt by foreign forces to interfere in China's internal affairs using the Dalai Lama as an excuse."
He said that by inviting the Dalai Lama to the White House, the U.S. would "harm others but bring no profit to itself." And he added a veiled threat about American prospects for economic recovery.
"How would [such a meeting] help the United States surmount the current economic crisis?" Zhu asked. He spoke at a news conference this morning in Beijing, and his comments were carried by several news agencies.
China holds the key to part of America's future financial stability, because it holds the largest number of U.S. treasury bonds. The strength of economic revival in China, in turn, could help lead the U.S. and the rest of the world out of the current downturn.
The row over the Dalai Lama's visit to Washington is the latest strain on Sino-American relations, on the heels of a big U.S. arms deal with Taiwan, which the U.S. recognizes as independent but China also claims as its own. Washington announced last week that it would go ahead with plans to sell $6.4 billion of weapons to Taiwan. In response, China suspended military relations and threatened sanctions against U.S. companies involved in the sale – a move the White House called "unwarranted."
In today's news conference, the communist party official Zhu didn't elaborate on how China would retaliate if Obama meets the Dalai Lama. "We will take corresponding measures to make the relevant countries realize their mistakes," he said.
Filed under: World, Politics
BLOGGERS NOTE: As planned & predicted, the forces are aligning for the 3rd ww - N. Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, China, etc. v. US