China summoned US Charge d’Affaires to Beijing and lodged a strong diplomatic protest after President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House despite warnings from Beijing that the meeting would damage ties. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned Daniel Kritenbrink, Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy in China, on Friday night to lodge solemn representations for Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama disregarding China’s strong opposition, the Foreign Ministry here said in a statement.
Zhang said such a wrong move gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, seriously violated the US commitment of not supporting the “Tibet independence”, gravely violated basic norms governing the international relations and seriously undermined the China-US relations. “China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition,” Zhang said.
The meeting is a serious violation of the basic norms of international relations and caused serious damage to the US-China relations, the statement was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying. Obama offered “strong support” for Tibetans’ human rights as he met the Dalai Lama. Obama, during the meeting, extended support to the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China.
The US announcement of Obama’s third meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader drew a sharp reaction from China, which has long opposed foreign dignitaries meeting the Dalai Lama who fled to India in 1959. Earlier, China lodged diplomatic protest soon after the White House announced the meeting and later the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying sought its cancellation saying it would seriously impair bilateral ties.
Hua told a media briefing that “we are deeply concerned and have lodged solemn representations with the US side.” “We must point out that Tibet-related affairs fall entirely within the internal affairs of China, which allow no foreign interference. The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion”, she said. “By arranging a meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, the US side will grossly interfere in the internal affairs of China, seriously violate norms governing international relations and severely impair China-US relations,” Hua had said ahead of the meeting.
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Obama and the Dalai Lama – both Nobel Peace Prize laureates – have met twice before in 2010 and 2011, drawing similar protests from China.