left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Opinion: Obama's move is harmful

Updated: 2014-02-21 15:42
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - The White House has announced that Barack Obama is to receive the Dalai Lama in Washington on Friday morning, which would be their third meeting since the former assumed US presidency in 2009.

The move is both regrettable and harmful. It marks a flagrant breach of Washington's pledge to refrain from interfering in China's domestic affairs, and would dampen the hard-won positive impetus the two sides have built up in the development of their relations.

Less than three months into his presidency, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to California in June 2013 to meet Obama in the Annenburg Estate, also known as the Sunnylands, ushering in a new sunny period of the cross-Pacific relationship.

Guided by the shared vision of building a new type of major-country relations, China and the United States have since witnessed increasingly closer cooperation in political, economic, cultural and military realms.

Against such a favorable backdrop, now should be a moment for the two global heavyweights to build on the momentum and steer their interaction further forward in the right direction.

That is why the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting is particularly uncalled-for and hurtful. It is common sense that slamming on the brakes of a fast-moving car might result in unpredictable consequences.

Some might interpret the unprovoked move in the context that Washington is in campaign mode for the upcoming midterm elections, and argue that it is just a vote-grabbing tactic designed to pander to domestic audiences and not intended to damage China-US relations.

Such a line of thinking is both myopic and unrealistic. Even though it might help score some easy political points at home, the tactical move would inflict unnecessary disturbance upon the strategically significant China-US relations, which would in turn translate into concrete losses.

Besides, Washington's wishful thinking to use the Dalai Lama to flaunt its moral high ground is fundamentally fallacious. The Dalai Lama is essentially a political fugitive whose group instigates separatist activities including self-immolations.

The Obama-Dalai Lama meeting will send a wrong message to Tibetan secessionists and encourage them to resort to extremist moves that contradicts the very human rights Washington claims to defend.

China and the Unites States stand atop one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, and the various global challenges demand closer cooperation between them.

Thus US politicians should abstain from the bad habit of using US-China relations as a handy tool to scramble for short-term gains, and help ensure that their country works with Beijing to keep bilateral relations moving ahead in the right direction.

Respecting each other and handling bilateral differences and sensitive issues with prudent approaches should be a good start.