The Dalai Lama addresses the American Enterprise Institute in Washington February 20, 2014.
China asked U.S. President Barack Obama to cancel his plans of meeting the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual guru who is presently in exile. China warned Mr. Obama that there could be "serious damage" in the relation between the countries. Mr. Obama is supposed to meet the Dalai Lama on Friday, Feb 21.
The White House National Security Council, on the other hand, declared that Mr. Obama did not have any plans to cancel his meeting with the spiritual leader, Reuters reported. The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is expected to meet the U.S. president at the White House. Mr. Obama is supposed to discuss his concern about human rights violations in China.
China, however, does not consider the Dalai Lama suitable enough to have political discussions with. It has already called him a "wolf" in disguise of a sheep who intends to perform violent methods to form an independent Tibet. The Dalai Lama took refuge in India after the failure of the 1959 uprising in Tibet. He, on the contrary, keeps on insisting that he genuinely wishes for an autonomous Tibet. At the same time, he has always denied the allegations that he advocates violence.
Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of China, issued a statement where it was emphasised that the meeting between the Dalai Lama and the U.S. president would be considered as a "gross interference" by the United States in the internal affairs of China. On the other hand, the meeting is also considered as a "serious violation of the norms of international relations". She has urged that the U.S. should get engaged in encouraging a person like the Dalai Lama.
This is, however, not the first time Mr Obama is going to meet the Dalai Lama. Mr Obama previously met him in 2011 and China reacted in a similar manner at that time as well. Interestingly, China did not engage in any retaliation as it declared that it was careful not to cause tensions between the biggest economies in the world.