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Despite China’s Objection, Obama meets Dalai Lama at the White House

The Dalai Lama has advocated for a middle way — not asking for independence from China for Tibet, but for more autonomy

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President Barack Obama greets His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House, June 15, 2016
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  • President Barack Obama greets the Dalai Lama as an individual who is a leader and an inspiration
  • Earlier, China warned Obama against meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it could damage mutual trust
  • The president reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is a part of China and that the United States does not support Tibetan independence

o video cameras or reporters to document the event.

But afterward a photo emerged, first on the Dalai Lama’s Instagram account and then released by the White House, of the two men facing each other, locked in an embrace that spoke volumes about the warmth of their relationship.

Inan interview with VOA, Myles Caggins, National Security Council spokesman for Asia, said the meeting was personal in nature.

“In this case, personal because the president, as he hosted the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the residence, greets him as an individual who is a leader, who is internationally recognized as a leader for religion and a cultural leader of Tibet. But in contrast, an official visit or a state visit would include the normal trappings of the parade on the South Lawn, potentially a meeting in the Oval Office and a state dinner, potentially.”

Image Source:The Ubyssey

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China warning

Earlier, China warned Obama against meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it could damage mutual trust. China sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Obama refers to the Dalai Lama as “a good friend.” But China fears these meetings between the two send the wrong message to Tibetans.

“If such meeting goes through, it will send a wrong signal to the separatist forces seeking Tibet independence, and it will damage mutual trust and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Wednesday in Beijing.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president has “warm personal feelings” for the Dalai Lama, and thanked him for his letter of condolences to the families of those hurt and killed in Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Earnest said the president also appreciated the spiritual leader’s commitment to nonviolence and his efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

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White House statement

After the meeting, the White House released a statement saying: “The president and the Dalai Lama discussed the situation for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China, and the president emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China. The president lauded the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence, and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ approach.”

The Dalai Lama has advocated for a middle way — not asking for independence from China for Tibet, but for more autonomy.

Asked about more autonomy for Tibet, NSC spokesman Caggins told VOA that the U.S. position on China has not changed.

“During the meeting, it is important to note that the president reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is a part of China and that the United States does not support Tibetan independence. But both leaders, the president and the Dalai Lama, agreed that it is important for the United States and China to have a constructive and productive relationship. It is also important that the Dalai Lama and his representatives have a fruitful dialogue with Chinese authorities.”

There has been no dialogues between the Dalai Lama and China’s central government since 2010 .After the re-election of their prime minister in May, they maintain hope to have talks with China to give Tibet more autonomy can continue.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna(with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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White House Denies Any Direct Talks Yet Between Trump And Kim

No direct talks yet between Trump, Kim: White House

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Donald Trump is the President of U.S.
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The White House has denied any direct talks yet between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, though Washington has spoken to Pyongyang “at the highest levels”.

The White House statement on Tuesday came minutes after Trump seemingly hinted that he has already spoken with Kim, Xinhua news agency reported.

When asked by reporters if he had spoken directly with Kim, Trump had said “yes”.

In the statement, issued after the confusing incident, the White House said, “In regards to talks with leader Kim Jong-un, the President said the administration has had talks at the highest levels” and added that they were not with him directly.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump himself also said that Washington and Pyongyang have already started direct talks at “very high levels,” without specifying how “high” the level was.

Kim Jong-un And Donald Trump
Kim Jong-un And Donald Trump

“We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels with North Korea,” Trump said. He might have hinted at CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s reportedly top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as his envoy.

The trip made by Pompeo was an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between the leaders of the two countries. No official confirmation of Pompeo’s visit has come yet.

Trump was expected to meet Kim in May or early June. The venue of the meeting was still to be decided. Trump said that five sites were being weighed and none of them were located in the US.

Also Read: China And Russia Accused of Manipulating Their Currencies By Trump

Tension on the Korean Peninsula has thawed over the last few months. The South and North have agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit on April 27, the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides in 11 years.

“They do have my blessing to discuss the end of the war,” said Trump on Tuesday, referring to the summit.

The 1950-1953 Korean war ended in an armistice. The Korean Peninsula remains technically in a state of war.  IANS