China on Friday opposed the Dalai Lama’s visit to Botswana scheduled next month and warned the southern African country against hosting the Tibetan leader.
The Dalai Lama’s itinerary includes a public address at the three-day “Mind and Life Dialogue” conference in Gaborone and a meeting with Botswana President Ian Khama.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China “resolutely” opposed any form of contact between the Dalai Lama and government officials. “The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities and plotted to divide Tibet from China” Geng said.
“China’s position is clear. We hope the relevant country will understand the essence of the Dalai Lama and earnestly respect China’s core concerns and make the right decisions on the relevant issues,” Geng added.
While a similar visit sparked a diplomatic row between China and Mongolia last year, South Africa had refused the Dalai Lama a visa after pressure from China. In April, China had lodged protests with India over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claimed was part of Tibet.