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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
Bush pledges Dalai Lama meeting
By James Coomarasamy
BBC News, Washington

The Dalai Lama on a visit to Germany in July 2007
The Dalai Lama is someone who wants peace, Mr Bush says
US President George W Bush has said he will meet the Dalai Lama next week in a move certain to further anger China.

The meeting will be in Washington on Tuesday, a day before the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is due to receive the Congressional Medal.

China has already objected to honouring a man it regards as a leader of a separatist state.

China now governs Tibet, which the Dalai Lama fled in 1959 following a failed uprising.

Highest honour

While the White House is playing down the significance of the Dalai Lama's latest private meeting with President Bush, the timing is likely to add fuel to the diplomatic flames.

A spokesman for the Chinese government said that the Beijing authorities resolutely opposed what he referred to as a Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama.

The spokesman said China was opposed to any country or person using the Dalai Lama issue to interfere in China's internal affairs.

The Bush administration has already announced that the president and his wife, Laura, will attend Wednesday's Capitol Hill ceremony, in which the Dalai Lama will be honoured with the highest civilian Congressional award.

It is thought this will be the first time that a sitting US president has appeared with the Dalai Lama at a public event.

The White House press secretary said that Mr Bush understood the Chinese would have concerns, but that he hoped the Chinese leaders would get to know that the Dalai Lama was someone who wants peace.

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