Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dalai Lama in Washington; 2/19/10; Buenos
DE RUEHBU #0204/01 0501738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 191737Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0574
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000204
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC, CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL AR CH
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: DALAI LAMA IN WASHINGTON; 2/19/10; BUENOS
1. President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Obama led
international news sections, with commentary ranging from the
meeting's "modesty" to the "deteriorating relations" with China.
All articles focused on the President's decision to not hold the
meeting in the Oval Office in order to "not irritate" China, but
also quoted the Dalai Lama being "very happy" with the result. End
DALAI LAMA IN WASHINGTON
2. Observing that President Obama received the Dalai Lama "not
with the protocol corresponding to a head of state," largest
circulation Clarin's Washington correspondent Ana Baron focused on
Obama's efforts to "try not to irritate China." With the U.S.
"needing China's financing to sustain its fiscal deficit" and
desiring Chinese "efforts to stop" Iran's nuclear program, Baron
noted that the meeting "could not have had a lower profile," with
the decision not to have a press conference or television cameras,
or to hold the meeting in the Map Room, instead of the Oval Office.
3. Peer Meinert, centrist Critica's Washington correspondent,
followed much the same tone as Baron. However, Meinert commented
that while the meeting could not have been "more modest" in order
to not contribute to "deteriorating relations" with China, Obama
could not have "defrauded" his political base by not meeting the
Dalai Lama. Additionally, Obama faces critics that claim he is not
"sufficiently hard" against the new Asian "superpower," or in terms
of the Republicans, the "policy of yielding" to China.
4. In addition to China's objection to the meeting, left-leaning
Pagina 12 reprinted an article from Britain's The Independent that
reflected criticism from human rights groups. After "previously
angering" human rights groups by "declining to see the Dalai Lama"
in October, the article quotes the vice-president of the
International Campaign for Tibet questioning why the meeting was
not in the Oval Office since meetings with "Girl Scouts and
basketball players" take place there. In addition, the article
cites the Executive Director for Students for a Free Tibet saying
that "as leader of the free world," President Obama "is in a
position like no one else" to help Tibet achieve its goals.
5. A Reuters newswire covering the Dalai Lama's visit to
Washington "despite Chinese threats" appeared in financial dailies
Ambito Financiero and El Cronista and second-largest daily La
Nacion. The article highlighted President Obama's decision to hold
the meeting in the Map Room as opposed to the Oval Office, as the
Dalai Lama is a "spiritual leader, not political." Although the
meeting could "complicate" Obama's efforts to get China to help on
"key issues," it is "considered improbable" that China-U.S.
relations will "escalate to an open conflict" as the economies of
both countries are "firmly interlaced."
6. Conservative daily La Prensa and financial daily Buenos Aires
Economico used an EFE newswire as its coverage on the Dalai Lama.
The newswire highlighted President Obama's "support for the
Tibetian cause" and the Dalai Lama's reply that he was "very happy"
with the meeting. EFE did note the "diplomatic tension" between
the U.S. and China over Taiwanese weapon sales, the exchange rate
of the Chinese yuan, and Chinese cyber-attacks against American
7. Political consultant Luis Rosales wrote an opinion article in
Buenos Aires Economico commenting on President Obama and the
"Tibetian dilemma." As President Obama is the "coolest" President
since John F. Kennedy, he could not "snub" the Dalai Lama during
his trip to Washington. Yet, by meeting with the Dalai Lama,
President Obama committed an "almost unforgivable offense" in
China's opinion. Thus, this creates a dilemma. Rosales opines that
while as "world leader of peace," President Obama "cannot stop
defending Tibet," he "should not offend Beijing's power" as the
U.S. is the "largest debtor" to China.
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website