China opposes Obama-Dalai meeting – asks US to call it off
Beijing: Reacting strongly to Barack Obama`s invitation to the Dalai Lama, China on Saturday said it was firmly opposed to any such move and asked the US President to call off the meeting.
The Sino-US tensions resurfaced as Obama decided to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader to the White House, ignoring Chinese pressure.
Obama is scheduled to meet Dalai Lama at the White House today though he will meet him at the Map Room and not his Oval office where he welcomes heads of state.
In a statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing urges the US to immediately call off the proposed meeting between Obama and Dalai Lama.
"The issue regarding Tibet concerns China`s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we firmly oppose any foreign official to meet with the Dalai Lama in any form," he said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese embassy in the US have lodged solemn representation with the US over the issue in Beijing and Washington, respectively, Hong said.
"We request the US side to honour its serious commitment that recognises Tibet as part of China and opposes `Tibet independence`, to immediately withdraw the decision of arranging Obama-Dalai Lama meeting, and to avoid interfering in China`s internal affairs and damaging China-US relations," he said.
A meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama last year, along with Washington`s decision to supply weapons to Taiwan had ended up causing year-long friction.
China had called off all military contacts, but they were resumed recently with high level defence officials from both sides visiting each other.