US President Barack Obama met with the Dalai Lama in the White house on Friday despite China’s best efforts in urging Washington to cancel the meeting, calling it a ‘gross interference’ in China’s internal affairs. Now China says it’s up to Washington to take steps in avoiding further damaging ties.
“The US seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs by allowing the Dalai’s visit to the United States and arranging the meetings with US leaders,” Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
“We urge the US to take China’s concerns seriously, stop tolerance and support of anti-China separatist forces, cease interfering in China’s internal affairs and immediately take measures to eliminate its baneful influence to avoid further impairment to China-US relations.”
Thee meeting took place in the White House’s Map Room on the ground floor rather than the Oval Office, where Obama usually sees foreign leaders, BBC reports. Press were barred from the meeting wherein the US president reportedly vowed “strong support” for the protection of Tibetans’ human rights in China.
SCMP reported yesterday:
Last night in Beijing, a senior military official voiced China’s objection to the meeting, following the foreign ministry’s warning to Washington.
General Fan Changlong, one of the two vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission, told the visiting US Army chief of staff, Ray Odierno, of “China’s serious stance on the planned meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama”, Xinhua reported.
[…]Earlier, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “For the United States leader to meet the Dalai Lama is a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of the norms of international relations.”
Hua sidestepped a question during a daily news briefing about whether Beijing would try to have the meeting cancelled.
But she said: “If any country deliberately insists on harming China’s interests, in the end it will also damage its own interests and will harm the bilateral relations between China and the relevant country. [If] the US president wishes to meet any person, it’s his own affair, but he cannot meet the Dalai Lama.”
The two men last met in 2011, an encounter which likewise provoked China’s anger.
This could lead to a very awkward exchange between Obama and Xi Jinping, who are meant to meat at nuclear security summit in the Netherlands next month.
Watch below, if only to see the Dalai Lama refer to himself as a “demon” with devil horns included.
[Image via The White House]