China summons US diplomat over Dalai Lama issue

China on Saturday accused the US of meddling in its domestic affairs after Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House, and said it is up to Washington to take steps to avoid further damaging ties. US plays down tension with China, upbeat on military exchanges

world Updated: Feb 22, 2014 21:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Dalai Lama,United States,Barack Obama

A fuming China summoned a top US diplomat late on Friday night to register its protest against President Barack Obama's meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader and Noble laureate, the India-based Dalai Lama, saying Washington was interfering in Beijing's internal domestic affairs.

Zhang Yesui, vice-foreign minister, told Daniel Kritenbrink, charge d'affaires of US embassy in China, in no uncertain terms that the meeting was "wrong move" and it "gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, seriously violated the US commitment of not supporting the 'Tibetan independence'" movement.

It, "…gravely violated basic norms violating international relations, and seriously undermined China-US relations," Zhang was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying.

"China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition," Zhang told Kritenbrink.

Read:US plays down tension with China, upbeat on military exchanges

Read:China left fuming as Obama meets the Dalai Lama

On Thursday, as information about the impending meeting was released by the White House, Beijing had lost no time in issuing statements and releasing an official commentary criticising the US move and asked Obama to scrap the meeting

Obama anyway went ahead with the meeting in White House's Map Room. Soon after, under directions from the top leadership of the government, Zhang summoned Kritenbrink; it was late in the night according to China time.

Read:China asks Obama not to meet Dalai Lama

A file photo of The Dalai Lama walking out of the White House in Washington after meeting with President Barack Obama. (AP files)

"Tibet is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory," Zhang said, adding: "The Tibetan issue is the domestic affair of China and the United States bears no right to interfere."

"Nobody can shake the will and determination of the Chinese government and people to oppose outside interference and to safeguard the national sovereignty and unification," he said.

Read:China says will stamp out Dalai Lama's voice in Tibet

"The United States, on the one hand, recognizes that Tibet is part of China and has agreed not to support 'Tibet independence', while on the other hand arranged the meeting between its leader and the Dalai Lama," he said, calling the Dalai Lama "chief head of the secessionist group seeking 'Tibet independence.'"

The Xinhua report added that Zhang demanded the US to immediately take concrete actions to offset negative influence, stop interfering into China's internal affairs by making use of Tibet-related issues, stop conniving and supporting anti-China secessionist activities made by the Dalai Lama and his followers.

Read:China says Tibet policy 'correct', no turning back
Read:Dalai Lama 'manufactured' Tibetan orphans, says China

First Published: Feb 22, 2014 10:19 IST