Home News Nancy Pelosi meets with Dalai Lama despite Chinese criticism

Nancy Pelosi meets with Dalai Lama despite Chinese criticism

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A senior U.S. congressional delegation including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the Dalai Lama at his home in India on Wednesday, a visit that the Chinese government has previously condemned, considering the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist.

A delegation led by Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, arrived on Tuesday in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama has lived since the 1960s, and visited the offices of the Tibetan government-in-exile, which is pushing for autonomy for Tibet within China.

The visit came days after a bill in Congress received bipartisan support urging China to engage in dialogue with Tibetan leaders to find a solution to the long-standing conflict.

Unsurprisingly, China immediately criticized the visit. Chinese leaders consider the government-in-exile illegitimate and view any support for the cause of Tibetan autonomy as interference in China’s internal affairs.

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi issued a statement late Tuesday saying: “We urge the US to fully recognize the anti-China and separatist nature of the Dalai Lama group, abide by the commitments it has made to China on Tibet-related issues, and stop sending wrong signals to the world.”

US officials frequently meet with the 88-year-old Dalai Lama. However, Ms Pelosi’s presence in the delegation was a reminder of Her trip to Taiwan in 2022At the time, she was speaker of the House of Representatives. China claims the self-governing island as its territory.

The controversial visit has stoked concerns within the Biden administration that already frosty U.S.-China relations will deteriorate further and lead to a strong response from China, including trade restrictions on Taiwan and military exercises near the island.

The visit to India comes as Washington and New Delhi are deepening ties, in part because both sides see China as a common threat. President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, held several rounds of talks with Indian officials in New Delhi this week to discuss expanding defense and technology cooperation.

The wide-ranging discussions, which came weeks after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a third term in office, show how seriously Washington takes its relationship with India, with U.S. officials increasingly viewing New Delhi as a counterweight to Beijing.

Tenzin Lekshay, spokesman for the Central Tibetan Government in exile, said the situation in Tibet should not be “seen through the lens of the growing competition between China and the United States” but rather as a reminder that the Tibetan way of life “is facing existential threat” as China assimilates Tibet.

“We do hope that the leaders of the free world will support the Tibetan cause, and especially emphasize that the Chinese leadership restart dialogue to resolve the Tibetan-Han conflict,” Mr. Lekshai said.

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