Top Tibetan political leader visits White House for first time in 6 decades

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Image source: AP

Tibetan political leader visits White House for first time in 6 decades

The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile visited the White House for the first time in six decades and met with the newly appointed senior US official on Tibetan issues, the Tibetan central administration said on Saturday, a development that could put angry Beijing, which accused the United States of trying to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Dr Lobsang Sangay entered the US White House on Friday – a historic achievement. This is the first time in the past 6 decades that the head of the Tibetan Central Administration (CTA) has been invited to the White House, CTA said in a statement.

“It is a great honor to be the first political leader of the Tibetan central administration to officially enter the White House,” Sangay said in a tweet.

“Today’s visit is tantamount to recognition of both the democratic system of CTA and its political leader … Perhaps this unprecedented meeting will set an optimistic tone for CTA’s involvement with US officials and will be more formalized in the years to come, ”CTA said. , which is based in Dharamshala, India.

Sangay, the chairman of the Tibetan Central Administration (CTA), was invited to the White House to meet with the new US special coordinator for Tibetan issues, Robert Destro, on Friday, he said.

On October 15, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed senior diplomat Destro as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, who, among other things, would focus on advancing the dialogue between the Chinese Communist government and the Dalai. llama.

Announcing Destro’s appointment, Pompeo said it was in compliance with the Tibetan Policy Act and that he will lead US efforts to promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives; protect the unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity of Tibetans; and insist that their human rights be respected.

China criticized Destro’s appointment, saying it amounted to political manipulation aimed at destabilizing Tibet.

After Destro’s appointment, Sangay met with him and discussed the situation in Tibet.

When asked about the Destro-Sangay meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing last month: “The affairs of Xizang (Tibet) (are) purely internal affairs of China. No external force should interfere. “

“The appointment of the so-called special coordinator for Tibetan issues is a political initiative to interfere in China’s internal affairs and sabotage Xizang’s stability,” he said.

China strongly opposes any official exchange between countries that have diplomatic relations with China and Taiwan or the signing of any official document, he said.

Beijing views the Dalai Lama as a separator who works with foreign forces to separate Tibet from China.

In his speech at a key meeting on Tibet in August, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the construction of a “new modern socialist Tibet”, the construction of an “impregnable wall” against separatism in the sensitive region of the Himalayas and the “sinization” of Tibetan Buddhism.

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