BEIJING, China – On Saturday the Chinese government denounced the decision of U.S. President Barack Obama to receive the Dalai Lama on the same day at the White House, reaffirming that the interview could harm relations between Beijing and Washington.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to his spokesman Hong Lei, urged Washington to cancel the planned meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader, saying it constituted interference in China’s internal affairs.
“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,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a statement.
Beijing accuses the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile since 1959, seeking independence for Tibet. Dalai Lama denies the charges, ensuring not to claim a real autonomy for the country.
Barack Obama last met the Dalai Lama in February 2010, provoking the wrath of Beijing. Today’s meeting is scheduled to be held at the Map Room of the White House and not his Oval office where he welcomes heads of state. The meeting is closed for the press.