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Pete King: Obama Shoulda Said, 'Hello, Dalai'

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The President is showing weakness and appeasing China by delaying a meeting with the Dalai Lama until after a visit to China later this year, Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King told the Daily News.

The Tibetan-leader-in-exile visited Congress today to pick up a human rights award, and King noted he changed a meeting himself in New York to be there.

"The last three Presidents since 1991 have met with him when he's been in Washington," King said. "For the President to say he's putting it off until he comes back from China, to me, it sends the wrong message to China. It's a sign of weakness or appeasement."

King suggested it gives the communist nation the idea that it can control the United States

"If we're going to let China think that because of our financial involvement with China or because they're a growing economic power, that we're going to allow them to interfere with our human rights policy, in any way, is a terrible signal to be sending," King said.

"It sends a wrong signal at this stage in the administration that we're going to be adjusting our policy to suit China," he said, adding the President Bush met the Dalai Lama before traveling to China.

King noted that Democrats and Republicans both raised the issue of the non-meeting with the Dalai Lama, who seemed to hope it will work out better to meet with Obama after the China trip.

Asked today if Obama was worried he'd be seen as "kowtowing to Chinese leaders," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said no.

"It's important that Tibetans -- Tibetan people know that our relationship, our strong relationship with China helps them," Gibbs said. "I think this was mutually agreed upon, and it's what's going to happen," he said of the later meeting.

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