WRAPUP 3-China says Obama hurt ties by meeting Dalai Lama

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casts; adds details of ship visit, paragraphs 13-14)

(For full coverage of U.S.-China relations, click
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* China says meeting will hurt ties

* But familiar words, and no mention of direct retaliation

* Tibet quarrel adds to broader strains

By Chris Buckley

BEIJING, Feb 19 (BestGrowthStock) – China accused U.S. President
Barack Obama of damaging ties by meeting the Dalai Lama and
said it was up to Washington to repair relations between the
two global powers, while stopping short of threats of
retaliation.

Obama held a low-key meeting in the White House on Thursday
with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled leader, in the face of
wider tensions with Beijing over U.S. weapons sales Taiwan,
China’s currency policies, trade disputes and Internet
censorship.

Beijing responded with predictably vehement words, but did
not mention any broader retaliation that could deepen strains.

“The U.S. act amounted to serious interference in Chinese
domestic affairs, and has seriously hurt the feelings of the
Chinese people and seriously damaged China-U.S. relations,”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a
statement on the ministry website (www.mfa.gov.cn).

The United States should “immediately take effective steps
to eradicate the malign effects” of the meeting, said Ma.

“Use concrete actions to promote the healthy and stable
development of Sino-U.S. relations,” he said.

China’s recent rancour over this and other disputes could
complicate Obama’s efforts to secure its help on issues such as
imposing tougher sanctions on Iran. It has threatened sanctions
over the planned U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

But Beijing’s statement about the meeting echoed many
previous statements about the Dalai Lama’s encounters with
foreign political leaders, including then U.S. President George
W. Bush — suggesting that China’s leaders will confine their
reaction to angry words.

“This certainly isn’t the first meeting between a U.S.
president and the Dalai Lama, and so both sides knew what was
coming and China’s response reflected that,” said Jin Canrong,
an expert on China-U.S. ties at Renmin University in Beijing.

“But I think it’s too early to say tensions have passed.
There’s still the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and there are also
disputes over trade and the currency that could escalate.”

Washington has complained that China has skewed trade flows
in its favour by holding down the value of its yuan currency.
China regards self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankui “lodged solemn
representations” with U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, the
official Xinhua news agency said.

In another sign that Beijing does not want tensions with
Washington to escalate, China has this week allowed a U.S.
aircraft carrier to berth in Hong Kong, a former British colony
and now a self-administered territory under Chinese control.
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China has sometimes barred U.S. navy ships from stopping at
Hong Kong during times of tension, including in 2007, when the
USS Kitty Hawk was denied entry.

TIBETAN MONKS WELCOME MEETING WITH FIREWORKS

Chinese Communist troops marched into Tibet in 1950. The
Dalai Lama fled in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese
rule, and has since campaigned for self-rule from exile.

Beijing accuses the Dala Lama of fomenting unrest and
seeking to split Tibet from China. The Dalai Lama says he is
merely seeking greater autonomy.

In the predominantly Tibetan region of Tongren in northwest
China’s Qinghai province, monks expressed their support for the
Obama meeting, saying they celebrated the event with a large
firework display.

“This is great news for the Tibetans,” said Jokhar, a local
monk. “We don’t care that it makes the government angry. It
makes us very happy that Obama met him.”

Tsering, a Tibetan celebrating the lunar new year on
Thursday, smiled when he heard the meeting was about to take
place.

“It lets us know we have not been forgotten,” he said.

Obama encouraged China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys to keep
up efforts to resolve their differences through negotiations,
despite recent talks having yielded little progress.

Investment Analysis

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Tongren, China; and
Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie)

WRAPUP 3-China says Obama hurt ties by meeting Dalai Lama