By Tenzin Dharpo
President Barack Obama greets His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the entrance of the Map Room of the White House on June 15, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
DHARAMSHALA, June 16: The much touted meeting between the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the United States President Barack Obama went ahead yesterday despite China expressing opposition.
The official readout from the White House on the meeting mentioned that the US remains supportive of the Middle Way Approach and that the US policy remains unchanged as far as recognizing Tibet as a part of China was concerned. “In this context, the President reiterated the longstanding U.S. position that Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China, and the United States does not support Tibetan independence,” it mentioned.
The readout further encouraged resumption of Sino-Tibet dialogue. It stated, “The President encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences. The Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China.”
The repeated rhetoric from China continued expressing apprehension over the meeting between the US President and the 80 year old Tibetan leader who is called a “splittist” by China. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lu Kang on Wednesday said, “Tibet affairs are part of China’s internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.”
Earlier the same spokesperson warned the US against hosting the Tibetan leader who maintains that his visits and meetings with leaders should not be at the cost of the country's relations with China. "We demand the U.S. government earnestly stands by its promises, conscientiously handle the relevant issue in accordance with the one China principle and not give any space to any individual or behavior which tries to create two Chinas," Lu said.
The fourth meeting between the two leaders also touched upon the human rights situation in Tibet and support over Dalai Lama’s efforts and advocacy on global warming and its affect on Tibet’s ecology and glaciers, responsible for the Asiatic water and climate stability.
The Dalai Lama is currently on a 19 day trip to the United States where the 80 year old is scheduled to give talks, attend events and meet various dignitaries.