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'Dalai visit' may threaten Sino-US ties
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US president Barack Obama risks damaging relations with China if he meets the Dalai Lama in October, experts warn.

"China would definitely be against the US leader meeting the Dalai Lama as it woul be severe interference in China's internal affairs," said Fu Mengzi, a scholar on American studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

The Dalai Lama is seeking an audience with Obama in October, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Sino-US relations have been proceeding smoothly as of late, particularly after President Hu Jintao and Obama met for the first time on April 1 ahead of the G20 summit in London.

During the meeting, Obama accepted Hu's invitation to visit China later this year and said that Sino-US relations have become extremely constructive.

Both leaders reached consensus on major issues of common concern at the G20, including Tibet, Fu said.

"Obama will break the consensus if he meets the Dalai Lama. It will also have negative influence on Sino-US cooperation with regard to the financial crisis and regional security, like the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Both George W. Bush's father and former president Bill Clinton met with the Dalai Lama in private, while the younger Bush met with him in a public ceremony.

Analysts said it's hard to conclude if Obama will meet the Dalai Lama.

While campaigning for the US presidency in July, Obama expressed his support in a letter to the Dalai Lama.

"But now Obama as president has to assess the visit's impact on Sino-US relations," said Pang Zhongying, a professor with Renmin University of China's school of international relations.

(China Daily March April 22, 2009)

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