Bush ignores China, meets Dalai Lama

November 14th, 2007 - 2:23 am ICT by admin  
Defend the meeting, presidential spokesman Tony Fratto said: “We understand the concerns of the Chinese.”

But he also said that Bush always attends congressional award presentation ceremonies, and had met the Dalai Lama several times before. Therefore, there was no reason not to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader.

According to The China Daily, Bush aides declined to disclose details of the discussion. The White House also did not release a photograph of the two together, as it had done during previous visits.

“We in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye,” Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, told reporters, adding, “We understand the Chinese have very strong feelings about this.”

On Wednesday, Bush and US lawmakers will present the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Earlier on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged Bush to cancel a planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, warning it can have “an extremely serious impact” on bilateral relations.

Bush and the Dalai Lama - viewed by China as a political exile who has long engaged in separatist activities - were scheduled to meet at the White House on Tuesday on the eve of a public ceremony to award him the US Congressional Gold Medal.

“We express our extreme dissatisfaction and strong opposition. We solemnly demand that the US side cancel the extremely wrong arrangement,” Yang told reporters on the sidelines of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The meeting will be a gross violation of the norms of international relations and it severely hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, said Yang, who is also a delegate to the Party congress.

“The Chinese side has made solemn representations on this many times.”

The planned meeting was the third since Bush took office in January 2001, but it will be the first time a sitting US president appears in public with the Dalai Lama. (ANI)

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