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China Urges U.S. to Cancel Meeting Between Obama and Dalai Lama

BEIJING -- China's foreign ministry has urged the United States to immediately cancel plans for President Barack Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama next week, warning the move could further hurt ties.

Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu issued the remarks Friday, hours after Washington announced Obama would meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader at the White House on Feb. 18.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of pushing for Tibetan independence and believes that shunning the exiled Tibetan monk should be a basic principle of international relations.

Ma says the U.S. should cancel the meeting "so as not to cause further damage to Sino-U.S. relations."

Obama has been under intense pressure to meet with the Dalai Lama after putting off a meeting in October.