Chinese officials warned President Barack Obama on Friday that his meeting with the Dalai Lama would “interfere with the internal affairs of China.” Similar threats were made when Obama met with the exiled spiritual leader in 2010 and 2011.
“By arranging a meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, the U.S. side will grossly interfere in the internal affairs of China, seriously violate norms governing international relations and severely impair China-U.S. relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement, CNN reports.
Obama is meeting Friday with the Dalai Lama, who China considers to be a separatist fueling unrest in Tibet. The Dalai Lama says he only wants Tibet to have enough power to uphold Buddhist cultural traditions. Leaders from the Obama administration said they support the spiritual leader and his approach and are against Tibetan independence.
“The United States recognizes Tibet to be a part of the People’s Republic of China and we do not support Tibetan independence,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. “The United States strongly supports human rights and religious freedom in China.”