Obama to meet Dalai as US-Sino ties worsen

Obama to meet Dalai as US-Sino ties worsen

Beijing rejects calls to back UN security council curbs against Iran

Obama to meet Dalai as US-Sino ties worsen

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did not set a date, but the Dalai Lama’s secretary has said he will be in Washington on February 17 and 18.
Beijing claims Tibet is part of China, views the Dalai Lama as a troublemaker and has lobbied firmly against the visit.

Although other US presidents have met the Dalai Lama, China had hoped that Obama might adopt a different approach, given the enthusiasm with which he wooed Beijing last year.

The controversial visit comes on top of a series of rows over the last few weeks in which relations between the US and China have taken a turn for the worse.
Obama told US legislators on Wednesday that he will take a tougher line towards China over its huge US trade surplus.

Other grievances include the US plans to sell arms to Taiwan, the row with the leading search engine Google over alleged cyber attacks, and the US disappointment at China’s failure to support it over climate change at Copenhagen and on sanctions against Iran.
China specialists in Washington said on Friday that the Obama administration had always planned the Dalai Lama meeting and the arms sales to Taiwan, but had simply deferred them while it established a rapport with Beijing.

But there had been a sudden coming together of issues over the last month. These have created “a perfect storm and the question now is how to navigate out of it,” said Evan Feigenbaum, a China specialist at Washington’s Council on Foreign Relations and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia. “I think it is going to be a rocky year.”

American politics
What has made US-Chinese relations even more volatile is that they have become part of American domestic politics, in particular public resentment over job losses.
Obama, speaking to Democratic legislators in Washington on Wednesday, urged China to open its markets more to US goods. “The approach that we are taking is to try to get much tougher about enforcement of existing rules,” he said.

He added that the China had to address currency rates to ensure that the price of US goods was not artificially inflated while imports were artificially deflated. China, responding to Obama, said it will not submit to US pressure to revalue its currency.
China also showed no sign either of backing down over Iranian sanctions. Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, on a visit to Paris, rejected calls by the US, Britain and others to back UN security council sanctions.

The US continued to ramp up pressure on Friday. US deputy assistant secretary of state David Shear told a Congressional panel that Beijing would regret any action to punish US businesses involved in the planned $6.4 billion arms sales to Taiwan.
The Guardian

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