Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News


Obama Postpones Meeting with Dalai Lama

posted by mconsoli

WASHINGTON – A decision by Barack Obama to postpone his first meeting as president with the Dalai Lama is overshadowing a visit to Washington this week by the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama arrived Monday in Washington and will be received by prominent U.S. lawmakers and the U.S. coordinator for Tibet. But the focus for many in China, Tibet and the United States is the president’s decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama until after Obama visits Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing in November.
The Dalai Lama has met with the last three sitting U.S. presidents during his visits to Washington. But this week’s trip comes at a delicate time for a new U.S. administration looking to improve relations with Beijing and win Chinese support for crucial foreign policy, economic and environmental goals.
Although China calls him a “wolf in monk’s robes” who seeks to split Tibet from the rest of China, the Dalai Lama says he merely wants genuine autonomy for Tibetans.
Those who advocate for Tibet see the Dalai Lama’s White House visits as important messages of support for Tibetans and others struggling for human rights. A White House audience for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate this week, however, would have cast a shadow over Obama’s talks with Hu next month.
“You only get one chance to start this the right way,” Douglas Paal, a former senior Asia adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said of Obama’s relationship with Hu.
Obama must balance his efforts to develop ties with China with his desire to support the Dalai Lama. He also needs to overcome harsh criticism by those who feel his administration is not doing enough to push Beijing to better address human rights complaints.
Obama recognizes that how he treats the Dalai Lama will be watched closely – by Beijing, by U.S. lawmakers and voters, and by other world leaders who have been castigated by China for meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the United States is “kowtowing” to Beijing by not meeting with the Tibetan monk.
The Dalai Lama’s envoy, Lodi Gyari, played down the situation, saying that there “has been no question of President Obama not, at the appropriate time, meeting His Holiness.” He said Monday in a statement that the Dalai Lama, “taking a broader and long-term perspective,” agreed to the postponement in the hope that a cooperative U.S.-China relationship will help resolve Tibetans’ grievances.
This week, the Dalai Lama plans to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress, and with Maria Otero, the U.S. special coordinator for Tibetan issues. On Tuesday, he will receive a human rights award in memory of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress.
The Dalai Lama’s meetings with past U.S. presidents were behind the scenes in the White House. President George W. Bush, however, attended an elaborate public ceremony in 2007 and presented the Dalai Lama with the U.S. Congress’ highest civilian honor.
Some of the Dalai Lama’s supporters hope Bush’s break with tradition sets a precedent for future meetings.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly wouldn’t discuss the decision to postpone the meeting. Obama, Kelly said Monday, will raise the topic of human rights during his talks with Hu.
China says Tibet has been part of its territory for four centuries. It has aggressively governed the Himalayan region since communist troops took control there in 1951. Many Tibetans claim they were effectively independent for most of their history and say Chinese rule and economic exploitation are eroding their traditional Buddhist culture.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(1)
post a comment
nnmns

posted October 6, 2009 at 9:44 pm


How many times will be have this topic in the next week? Couple of months?
An important and current moral issue is, for example, the large number of Americans who die each year because they don’t have access to adequate health care. That would be a good thing for us to chew over and I don’t recall it showing up in this part of B’net. Certainly not often.
On the other hand we have incredibly repetitive coverage of topics related to homosexuality and churches splitting over homosexuality. And now two articles on this within, what, three days?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.