Sunday, July 17, 2011

China: Obama Visit with Dalai Lama has 'Harmed Sino-U.S. Relations'

China spoke out strongly Sunday against a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, saying it "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and harmed Sino-U.S. relations."

"This action seriously interfered with China's internal affairs," said Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in a statement, adding that officials have lodged formal complaints with their U.S. counterparts in Beijing and Washington.

Obama met with the Dalai Lama on Saturday in Washington, commending the Tibetan spiritual leader on his commitment to nonviolence and pursuit of the "Middle Way" approach with China, the White House said in a statement.

During the closed-door visit at the White House, Obama stressed the U.S. policy that "Tibet is a part of the People's Republic of China and the United States does not support independence for Tibet," the White House said.

In the nearly 45-minute meeting, the president voiced support for "direct dialogue" between China and Tibet as a way to peace, the statement said.