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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Latest
UPDATED: February 20, 2010
Unwise for Obama to Meet Dalai Lama: U.S.-China Expert
Obama should spend additional time with Chinese leaders and focus on more important issues instead of harming U.S.-China relations by meeting with the Dalai Lama

It is "unwise" for President Barak Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama because the session would negatively affect American ties with China, says an expert on U.S.-China relations.

Instead, Obama should spend additional time with Chinese leaders and focus on more important issues instead of harming U.S.-China relations by meeting with the Dalai Lama, Fred Teng, a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

"We need more constructive relations between the United States and China and it will be in the best interest of both the American and Chinese people," said Teng, who also is president of the Chinese Community Relations Council.

In an op-ed article published in the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Teng said that in recent weeks, the U.S.-China relationship have been rocked by a number of geopolitical crises, some unforeseen and others a result of archaic policies that "should no longer exist in our current political climate."

"During this critical time, President Obama should focus on building a constructive relationship with China, and not divert his attention from the end goal of building mutual understanding and trust," Teng wrote.

On the heels of an arms sales to Taiwan and at a time when the U.S. relies heavily on China on a number of thorny geopolitical issues worldwide, "if President Obama now invites the Dalai Lama to visit the White House, he will be instigating a potentially destructive downward spiral in relations," Teng wrote.

Tibet was part of China long before Hawaii became a U.S. state, Teng noted. He pointed out that the American Congress passed a law known as the Apology Resolution, which apologized for the government's role in supporting the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

"However, Hawaii is still a solid part of the U.S. sovereignty. How would the U.S. government react if the government of China supported a leader of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement?" he wrote.

"For the time being, it is unwise to fete an exile leader and further offend the most important foreign partner of the United Sates," Teng said.

Obama should spend more time engaging with Chinese leaders on "real priorities," Teng said, such as trade, climate change, and the U.S. national debt.

"It is unwise to sidetrack U.S. foreign policy. We need more constructive U.S.-China relations, for the people of the U.S. and for the people of China," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2010)

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