Dalai Lama not planning to meet Bush

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am


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The Dalai Lama has no plans to meet US President George W. Bush during his trip to the US starting next Thursday, his spokesman Chhime Chhoekyapa said yesterday.

The spokesman said the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader would deliver lectures and meet community leaders in Seattle, the state of Michigan and other places. 'He has no plan to go to Washington or New York,' he said.

Despite the latest unrest in Tibet, which Beijing has accused the 'Dalai Lama clique' of fomenting, the Dalai Lama neither planned nor had been invited to meet the US president on the trip, which had been planned for a long time, Chhime Chhoekyapa said.

He said that while the Dalai Lama would make a brief stopover in Japan next Thursday morning, he did not have any plans to meet Japanese leaders.

His US visit would coincide with the Olympic torch relay. The torch arrives in San Francisco on Wednesday then leaves for the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires two days later.

The Dalai Lama's last visit to the US, in October, drew fire from Beijing, which protested against Mr Bush's decision to meet him as well as present the country's top civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal, to him on Capitol Hill. The incident was also cited as one of the reasons behind Beijing's decision to block a port call in Hong Kong by the American aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in November.