Sunday, February 21, 2010

BHO Meets HHDL, CH Summons AMBO

President Barack Obama meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House on Feb. 18, 2010.

 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

According to the WH Museum, the Map Room is so-named because it was used by President Franklin Roosevelt as a situation room from which to follow the course of World War II. It now serves as a private meeting room for the president or the first lady. But until 1929, it had historically been used as a billiard room by many presidents, and occasionally for doctors' visits.

This is also the same room where Chief Justice John Roberts administered BHO’s oath of office the second time in 2009. More here on the Map Room from Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, Times Online reported that China has issued a protest against President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, demanding that Washington take steps to improve ties strained by the encounter. “To underscore Beijing’s displeasure the Deputy Foreign Minister, Cui Tiankai, summoned Jon Huntsman, the US Ambassador to China, and “lodged solemn representations.”

The US Embassy in Beijing has the same photograph I posted above, and the statement issued by the WH Press Secretary on its website but otherwise made no other reference to the visit. VOA quotes the ambassador via the embassy spokesman regarding the Chinese reaction:

"I don't think this has come as a surprise, no," said Hunstman. "The president had expressed his concerns for human rights in Tibet and his admiration for the Dalai Lama as an international religious figure.  I can't say what would appease the Chinese on this meeting but of course we had told the Chinese months in advance and in fact when President Obama was here in November he did mention he intended to meet with the Dalai Lama when he had his meeting with President Hu Jintao."

Last week, Ambassador Huntsman also released a statement on Why the U.S.-China relationship is the most important in the world.  It was carried by Global Times in English and Chinese. He said in part: “The U.S.-China relationship is the most complex and vital relationship in the world today.   We cannot, we must not, allow our disagreements to negate aspects of our relationship that are so critical to the region and the world.  My hope is that we move forward and get on with our important work – whether it’s on the global economy, regional security, climate change and cleaner energy.  Improving the human condition for people in both our countries should always drive the priorities on which our relationship is based.”

The Dalai Lama also meet HRC but I don't think it burned any porridge in the old kingdom:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
at the Department of State in Washington, DC February 18, 2010.
[State Department photo / Public Domain] 

Note: Post updated on 2/24; HRC photo added.

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