United States President Barack Obama has invoked the ire of China after meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House. Having warned the meeting would strain ties, China has now summoned a US diplomat.
Obama met with the Dalai Lama on Friday behind closed doors, hosting the Tibetan spiritual leader in the White House's map room as opposed to the Oval Office. Photographers were not granted access to the Dalai Lama and he left without speaking to journalists. Obama and the Dalia Lama - both Nobel peace laureates - had last met in 2011.
A statement from the White House after the meeting said Obama had expressed "his strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People's Republic of China."
China had reacted quickly on Thursday to the news of the meeting, urging Obama to cancel it. "It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations," said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry. "It will inflict grave damages upon the China-U.S. relationship."
Beijing has now summoned US charge d'affaires Daniel Kritenbrink over the meeting with the Dalai Lama, who it considers a separatist, according to news agency AFP. "China expresses strong indignation and firm opposition," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui told the Xinhua news agency. "The Tibetan issue is the domestic affair of China and the United States bears no right to interfere."
ph/kms (AP, AFP)