By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, June 25: US President Donald Trump prevented Nikki Haley, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations from meeting the Dalai Lama in 2018 over China optics, claims former National Security Advisor John Bolton in his new book, The Room Where It Happened, which released Tuesday.
Bolton claims that Haley’s request to take a diplomatic envoy to India in June 2018 to meet with the Dalai Lama was turned down over concerns of how Beijing would react to the matter.
“The purpose of this trip was unclear, other than getting a photo op with the Dalai Lama, always good for an aspiring pol. But the minefield she strayed into by raising the China trade issue showed a political tin ear: Once Trump wondered how China would view Haley’s seeing the Dalai Lama, the trip was essentially dead,” Bolton writes in his 592-page book.
Among the many stunning claims, Bolton said that Trump asked China for help in getting re-elected by buying more agricultural products from the US. According to an unredacted passage cited by Vanity Fair, “Make sure I win,” Trump allegedly told Xi during a dinner at the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan last summer. “I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms.… Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.”
Bolton goes on to write that Trump expressed approval of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s policy of building concentration camps to detain Uighur Muslim minorities. “According to our interpreter, Trump said to Xi, ‘go ahead, you’re doing exactly the right thing.’” Bolton writes.
The book based on notes taken in a series of rooms during Bolton’s spell as Trump’s third national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, has since taken Washington by storm. The administration’s attempt to block the publication of the book failed after a court in Washington ruled in Bolton’s favour. President Trump indicated that a civil suit to seize all profits from the book will continue, and even hinted at criminal prosecution.
Bolton has called the sitting President ‘not fit for office’ while Trump responded by saying he is just a “disgruntled boring fool” whose book is “made up of lies & fake stories”.
The last US diplomat to meet the Dalai Lama publicly is Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback, a member of the Republican party, who called on the Tibetan leader here in Dharamshala in October 2019. Successive US Presidents have met with the Dalai Lama over the years, barring the incumbent US President Donald Trump.