China on Friday lodged a diplomatic protest with the US and asked it to immediately cancel President Barack Obama’s proposed meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it will cause “great damage” to bilateral ties.
“We urge the United States to take China’s concerns seriously and not to facilitate or offer occasion for the Dalai Lama to conduct anti-China secessionist moves,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press release. Her comments came in response to the scheduled informal Obama-Dalai Lama meeting today in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office.”China is greatly concerned about the meeting, and has lodged solemn representations to the US side,” Hua said.
The Tibetan issue is a domestic affair for China, she said, adding that there is no other country which bears the right to interfere. The Dalai Lama is a political figure in exile who is undertaking anti-China separatist activities in the name of religion, she said.The arranged meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama is an unjustified interference with China’s domestic affairs and a serious violation of the principles of international relations, and will cause great damage to China-US relations, she said.
China has long opposed foreign dignitaries meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959. Obama has met with the Dalai Lama twice before, in 2010 and 2011 which drew similar protests from China. White House on Thursday announced Obama would meet the Dalai Lama on Friday but it was closed to press. “The President will meet the Dalai Lama in his capacity as an internationally respected religious and cultural leader,” US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden had said.