Bush to Meet With Dalai Lama

Brushing aside complaints from China, President Bush is planning to meet with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.

China regards Tibet as part of its traditional territory and sees the Dalai Lama as a supporter of its independence.

In an apparent gesture to China, the White House made clear that Bush was receiving the Dalai Lama as a religious and not a political leader.

The meeting was to be place Wednesday morning in Bush's residence.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed anger over Bush's plan to meet with the Buddhist leader.

The Dalai Lama met Tuesday with Secretary of State Colin Powell. The monk told reporters he discussed his ideas about promoting human and religious values and the situation in Tibet.

He said Powell ``listened very keenly'' to the points he raised.

After his meeting with Powell, the Dalai Lama met with Paula Dobriansky, who heads the global affairs bureau of the State Department.

She recently was appointed special coordinator for Tibet, a post mandated by Congress to ensure a voice for Tibetan issues in the administration.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush considers the Dalai Lama ``an important spiritual and religious leader and looks forward to the visit.''

Coincidentally, both the Dalai Lama and Taiwan President Chen Shui-Bian were in the United States on Tuesday. Chen was making a transit stop en route to Latin America.

Zhu said the American decision to grant entry to the two leaders reflected a toughening stance against China.

Chen arrived Monday in New York and planned to leave Wednesday for Latin America.