China has warned that “positive trends” in its relations with the US will be reversed if President Barack Obama meets the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.
A commentary in the People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party of China, also said that “chumming with a secessionist” would amount to “playing with fire”.
Obama and the Dalai Lama were to interact at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“Any possible meeting or encounter between the two is sure to have negative consequences because the Dalai Lama is a political liability which backfires,” the commentary said.
It said that issues regarding Tibet concerned China’s core interests and national sentiments.
“Beijing has long made it clear that the Dalai Lama, who has for decades tried to separate Tibet from China, should never be hosted by leaders of other countries.
“Chumming with a secessionist is playing with fire, which severely harms the mutual trust between China and the US, and downgrades Obama’s credit as a national leader for breaking his commitments to China on the Tibet issue.
“There may be self-claimed friendship between Obama and the Dalai Lama as individuals, but a meeting between a US president and a political fugitive goes beyond personal domain.”
The newspaper, which reflects thinking in the communist party, said: “What lies under their hypocritical relationship is nothing but political deals and cold calculations.
“Obama needs the Dalai Lama not because the latter is respectful, as Obama claimed, but because the Dalai Lama is useful.
“For one thing, he is a separatist. For another, he comes from China and is against his own motherland.
“In essence, the Dalai Lama is just a handy tool for Obama to scramble for short-term gains, show off his moral clarity and score easy points at home.
“But Obama and other politicians who want to meet the political fugitive will soon find they have miscalculated as their losses outweigh their gains and they have to pay too much for the whistle.”
It said: “If Obama meets the Dalai Lama, he will simply reverse the positive trends established by China and the US in the development of their relations.
“Any possible meeting or encounter with the Dalai Lama planned by Obama will dampen the hard-won positive momentum in China-US relations.
“Now the ball is in Washington’s court. It is highly advisable that the US stick to its commitments and properly handle related issues with the overall interests of China-US relations in mind.”