The United States has already met the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala in India, angering China

DHARAMSHALA, India (AP) — A bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Congress met with Dalai Lama Wednesday at his residence in Dharamshala, India, angering China which considers the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism to be a dangerous separatist.

This comes as Washington and Beijing recently Negotiations resumed after several years of turmoil It started after tariffs were imposed on Chinese goods under the Trump administration. At the time, relations further deteriorated following the COVID-19 pandemic and rising military tensions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

The high-level delegation, led by the Republican. Michael McCaul and former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived Tuesday in the hillside city that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has made his headquarters since fleeing Tibet after the failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. There, they met with officials from the Tibetan government in exile, which wants more autonomy for Tibet.

Beijing does not recognize the said administration and has not engaged in any dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.

After meeting with the spiritual leader on Wednesday, the seven U.S. speakers addressed hundreds of people gathered at a monastery just outside the 88-year-old Dalai Lama’s residence, waving U.S. and Tibetan flags.

They told the crowd that one of the main purposes of their visit was to highlight the Resolve Tibet Act, passed by the US Congress last week, which aims to encourage dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials in the hope of finding a peaceful solution between Tibet and Tibet. Beijing. The bill is now expected to be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law.

Pelosi said the bill is “a message to the Chinese government that we have clarity in our thinking and understanding on this issue of Tibetan freedom,” drawing applause.

McCaul, the Republican representative, said it reaffirmed U.S. support for the Tibetans’ right to self-determination. “Just this week, our delegation received a letter from the Chinese Communist Party warning us not to come here… but we did not let the CCP initiate us because we are here today,” he said. declared to people’s applause.

However, the visit and the recently passed bill triggered a swift response from Beijing.

Lin Jian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday urged Washington not to support Tibetan independence and said the White House “must not sign the bill” or China will take action “resolved”, without specifying what they could do. be.

“Everyone knows that the 14th Dalai Lama is not a purely religious figure, but a political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion,” Lin added, urging the US side to “not have no contact with the Dalai Lama. group in any form, and stop sending the wrong signal to the world.

The Dalai Lama denies being a separatist and says he only advocates substantial autonomy and the protection of Tibet’s indigenous Buddhist culture.

The Tibetan spiritual leader has a history of dealings with US officials, including US presidents – from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama – with the exception of Donald Trump. He has yet to meet with Biden since he took office in 2021.

The Dalai Lama is expected to travel to the United States on Thursday to receive medical treatment for his knees, but it is unclear whether he will meet with officials during his stay.

Meanwhile, Beijing has repeatedly asked the United States not to interfere in Tibetan affairs and has Maintained that the people of Tibet benefited from social stability and economic growth under his rule.

While India considers Tibet part of China, it welcomes Tibetan exiles.


Associated Press writer Didi Tang in Washington contributed to this report. Pathi reported from New Delhi.

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