China issues stern rebuke as Obama welcomes Dalai Lama to the White House

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President Barack Obama is hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House despite China warning that meeting would “inflict grave damages” on the US relationship with the Asian powerhouse.

Obama will greet the Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel laureate while the Dalai Lama is in the US on a speaking tour. The White House did not announce the meeting until late on Thursday, prompting a gruff complaint from Beijing in what has become something of a diplomatic ritual whenever Obama meets the exiled Buddhist monk.

Urging Obama to cancel the meeting, China’s government accused the president of letting the Dalai Lama use the White House as a podium to promote anti-Chinese activities.

“The US leader’s planned meeting with Dalai is a gross interference in China’s domestic politics,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry. “It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations. ”

The US had no immediate response to the rebuke from China. But in announcing the meeting, the White House said Obama was meeting the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a cultural and religious leader.