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Jin Canrong: Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama damages China-US strategic mutual trust

07-25-2011 16:20 BJT

On July 16, 2011, the U.S. President Barack Obama held a 45-minute talk with the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House. This was Obama's second meeting with the Dalai Lama since taking office. The reporter from China Tibet Online interviewed Professor Jin Canrong, who is a famous expert on International Relations, Deputy Dean of the School of International Studies and Deputy Director of Center for American Studies of Renmin University in China.

Reporter: Why Obama chose this time to meet with the Dalai Lama ignoring China's strong protest?

Jin Canrong: I think it was mainly because he has undertaken a great pressure from his own party before the upcoming election. Compared with members of the Congress who have received the Dalai Lama at the highest political level, Obama was relatively slow. To keep his domestic political position more favorable, he made such a decision.

There is another reason. During these two days, the discussions about the debt-ceiling between the two parties had been deadlocked. Obama was under great pressure. Supposing his public support rate dropped, he would lose the budget battle. He has already had a quite unpleasant talk with the Republican Party, which would directly influence his public support. Therefore, he would find himself in the passive position if the opponent accused him by playing the Dalai Lama card.

The third reason lies in that the China-US relations recently seems ok. However, from the essential point of view, Obama was unhappy about the RMB exchange rate, the South China Sea issue, and human rights issue in China. Meeting with the Dalai Lama could be regarded as a way to express these dissatisfactions.

Reporter: What political message did Obama intent to tell the public through this matter?

Jin Canrong: I think he wanted to convey the information mainly to the Americans, especially the Democrats who are concerned with human rights, by utilizing the Tibet issue to pave the way for him in the next year's election. The second signal was given to us, advocating that he still controls the matter of Tibet. There are two audiences of his message, whereas the domestic audience is weighed as the focus for President Obama.

Reporter: The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will meet China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo in Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province. And the US Vice President Joe Biden is also scheduled to visit China afterwards. What impact will the second meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama make to the US-US relations?

Jin Canrong: First of all, it is detrimental to the political atmosphere. The meeting has grossly interfered into China's internal affairs and as well has damaged the bilateral strategic mutual trust by not informing China in advance.

Last year the China-US relations have undergone a fluctuatation. In order to avoid its deterioration this year, both sides, especially China, have made a lot of efforts, including President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States at the beginning of the year.

The relations seemed to be stabilized this year. Therefore, the US and China agreed to form the strategic mutual trust, which means, both sides should make negotiations about considerable matters ahead. Consequently, Obama's venturing to meet with the Dalai Lama has exerted a great negative impact on the strategic mutual trust between the two countries. Although the political atmosphere may only undergo a short-term gloomy period, the damage to strategic mutual trust is substantial.

Reporter: How do you think of the U.S. President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama?

Jin Canrong: This meeting the damage to China-US relations is greater than the last one. Firstly, it did a great harm to the Sino-US strategic mutual trust which China has spent a lot of efforts in the past six months. Communications must be made in advance between the two sides on major issues. The obstinate arrangement of Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama will make China suspect the value of mutual trust, which had been built up through the concerted efforts from the two sides. Frankly speaking, this will affect the future bilateral relations. Secondly, a number of specific problems on the cooperation will occur if high-level communications are interrupted. There will be no strategic mutual trust, including the recently restored normal military exchanges, which can not be sustained any more. Andmany other issues on international cooperation such as terrorism, piracy, prevention on the Talibanization of Pakistan, the North Korean nuclear issue, the Iran nuclear issue, the Middle East chaos, etc. There will be so many fields for the Sino-US cooperation on the premise of the strategic mutual trust. And the premise of strategic mutual trust means both sides can not damage the core interest of each other. What the U.S. is doing now has severely damaged China's interest, weakened the strategic mutual trust, which will do great harm to the China-US cooperation in the future.

Reporter: Personally what do you want to say to Obama and to the Dalai Lama?

Jin Canrong: Obama does not take the long-term U.S. national interests into account. The U.S. national interests should be built on the basis of Sino-US cooperation. China's GDP is the second in the world, and according to the purchasing power evaluation, this number will double. China's power is larger than what it looks like. There will be a larger damage to the interest of the United States if China refuses to cooperate. And also there will be an impact on the world. From the perspective of the United States' own interest, Obama should seek cooperation with China.

As for the Dalai Lama, he should return to his religion-based standard, honestly studying the Tibetan religious connotations and philosophy, promoting Tibetan Buddhism, and performing less like a political monk, which will not only harm the Tibetan religious principles, but also the interest of the Tibetan people.

Reporter: What do you think of the Dalai Lama’s "retirement"?

Jin Canrong: The Dalai Lama can play a political role in his identity of a "spiritual leader". And this "spiritual leader" will not retire and sounds funny from the common sense. A religious leader can not retire in true sense, and political retirement is just a farce!

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Tibet Online

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