US urged not to meddle with internal Tibet affairs

Updated: 2016-06-20 07:26

By Wang Xu(China Daily)

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Beijing urged the United States not to interfere in China's domestic affairs on matters related to Tibet, and take practical actions to safeguard overall China-US relations.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks during a phone call on Saturday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, during which Wang reiterated China's position on the issue of Tibet.

In response, Kerry reaffirmed that there was no change in US policy, and the US government maintains that Tibet is an inseparable part of China and does not support the independence of Tibet.

The call followed US President Barack Obama's meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama behind closed doors at the White House Map Room last week, despite the Chinese government's strong opposition.

Before the meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news briefing that the ministry had already made a representation to the US embassy in China concerning the issue and warned that the 14th Dalai Lama is "not a purely religious figure, but a political exile who has long engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion".

Wang and Kerry also hailed the success of the recent China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues and the China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which were held in Beijing earlier this month.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of US studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told China Daily at the 2016 China-US Public Diplomacy Summit on Saturday that although the US did publicly express that it does not support the independence of Tibet, there remains a huge difference between China and the US on questions such as "What is the independence of Tibet?" and "Who is the promoter of Tibetan separatism?"

"The US said the Dalai Lama is a religious figure or spiritual leader. This definition is completely opposite from China's," Shi said. "Thus, the Chinese government has always opposed US presidents meeting with the Dalai Lama, as this encourages Tibetan separatists led by him and seriously damages Sino-US relations."

Jerrold Green, president and CEO of the Pacific Council on International Policy, who also attended the public diplomacy summit, said the meeting will not change US policy.

"President Obama thought it was an appropriate thing to do. I think a meeting is just a meeting. I don't see anything changed in the US policy."