Nancy Pelosi Meets Dalai Lama Despite China’s Ire 

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Nancy Pelosi Meets Dalai Lama Despite China’s Ire 

| Updated: June 19, 2024 10:43

The visit was condemned by China’s government, which considers the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist

A high-level US congressional delegation, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with the Dalai Lama at his Indian home on Wednesday.

The visit was condemned in advance by China’s government, which considers the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist.

The delegation, led by Michael McCaul, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, arrived on Tuesday in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama has lived since the 1960s. 

The delegation visited the offices of the Tibetan government in exile, which is pushing for autonomy for Tibet within China.

The trip comes days after US Congress passed a bill with bipartisan support that urged China to start a dialogue with Tibetan leaders to find a solution to the long-standing conflict.

China’s criticism of the visit was immediate and unsurprising. Its leaders consider the government in exile illegal and regard any support for the cause of autonomy for Tibet, which they call Xizang, as interference in internal Chinese matters.

China’s message

“We urge the US side to fully recognize the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group, honor the commitments the US has made to China on issues related to Xizang, stop sending the wrong signal to the world,” the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement on Tuesday night.

The visit to India also comes as Washington and New Delhi deepen their relationship, motivated by the perception of a shared Chinese threat. Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, is in New Delhi this week, holding multiple rounds of talks with Indian officials on expanding defence and technology cooperation. US officials increasingly speak of New Delhi as a counterweight to Beijing.

Tenzin Lekshay, a spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration, the government in exile, said Tibet’s situation should not be seen through “the lens of increasing rivalry between the US and China,” but as a reminder of how the Tibetan way of life “is facing an existential threat” as China assimilates the region.

“We do hope that leaders of the free world will stand for the Tibet cause, particularly stressing the Chinese leadership to reinstall the dialogue to resolve the Sino-Tibet conflict,” Lekshay said.

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