Washinton, Feb.18: Ignoring strong objections by China, United States President Barack Obama on Thursday met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who is set to seek his help in resolving the vexed Tibet issue.
The two Nobel Peace Prize laureates met away from the cameras in the White House Map Room, in what is being billed as a low-key meeting, which the US administration calls private. But an angry China has warned that the meeting could worsen relations between the two powerful countries.
The Map Room in the mansion is the place where presidents stage private meeting. The parleys with the Dalai Lama are not taking place at the more stately Oval Office where Obama frequently meets with world leaders.
Terming it as an important meeting, Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari said the 74-year-old Buddhist monk will speak about Tibet, and the two are also likely to discuss global concerns.
"His Holiness will be asking the President to help find a solution in resolving the Tibet issue that would be mutually beneficial to the Tibetan and Chinese people," Gyari said in a statement issued soon after the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Washington on Wednesday.
The visit comes despite stiff opposition from China, which urged the Obama administration to cancel the meeting, warning that it would damage Sino-US ties.
Analysts said the meeting will be muted because a public appearance by Dalai Lama and Obama would enrage China, which believes that official foreign contact with the monk infringes on its sovereignty over Tibet.
"China resolutely opposes the visit by the Dalai Lama to the United States, and resolutely opposes US leaders having contact with the Dalai Lama," according to foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.
Dalai Lama Asks China To Develop Trust With India
Advocating "genuine friendship" between India and China, the Dalai Lama on Friday said it was essential for the two most populous nations to develop mutual trust, which can be achieved if China transforms into an "open society".
Talking to reporters after his meetings with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Tibetan spiritual leader told China that if it has to realise its goal of becoming a superpower, it should also lay emphasis on moral authority and end censorship.
"China should be an open society. Then, trust can develop, particularly with India. I think the two most populated nations, genuine friendships between these two countries are very, very essential. Genuine friendship only comes on the basis of mutual trust," he said, even as he termed India as his home.
Contending that a closed society led to suspicion and distrust, he said: "If (former Chinese President) Jiang Zemin closed, everything state secret, state secret it can, you see, create more suspicion, more distrust (sic)".
Contending that censorship and hiding the truth, was "immoral," he said the over one billion people of China had the right to know the reality.
"And also, you see, the Chinese people have... brains to judge which is right, which is wrong. So there is no reason to put lot of control about media. That’s wrong. This I really feel very strongly," he said.