Barack Obamas move to defer a meeting with the Dalai Lama is being criticised as a US retreat on human rights issues,with the President being accused of bowing to Chinese pressure and snubbing the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Dalai Lama arrived in Washington on his first visit since Obama assumed Presidency,but for the first time since 1991 he will not be received at the White House as the US President prepares for a Sino-US summit in Beijing next month. The Tibetan spiritual leader will eventually meet Obama on his return from Beijing.
Frank Wolf,a Congressman and veteran advocate for Tibet,described Obamas failure to welcome the Dalai Lama as just terrible and a retreat by the Obama administration on human rights and religious freedom,The Times reported on Tuesday. Its a mistake and the ramifications are going to be felt for months ahead, he said.
The White House claimed that delaying the meeting with the Dalai Lama is part of a new policy of strategic reassurance designed to replace a policy of regular meetings with dissidents that did little to improve their lot.
Quoting US officials,it said the delayed encounter is part of a broad new strategy to win Chinese cooperation on a range of issues including North Korea,Iran,Taiwan and Tibet.
The break with a two-decade tradition follows a declaration by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that human rights alone cannot determine the US-Chinese relationship.