China urges Obama to cancel Dalai Lama meeting

China on Friday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned meeting between President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.

“We urge the United States to take China’s concerns seriously and not to facilitate or offer occasion for the Dalai Lama to conduct anti-China secessionist moves,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press release.

Her comments came in response to the scheduled informal Obama-Dalai Lama meeting on Friday in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office.

“China is greatly concerned about the meeting, and has lodged solemn representations to the U.S. side,” Hua said.

The Tibetan issue is a domestic affair for China, she said, arguing that no other country bears the right to interfere.

The Dalai Lama is a political figure in exile who is undertaking anti-China separatist activities in the name of religion, according to the spokeswoman.

The meeting, if not called off at the last minute, is certain to impair ties between China and the United States, a relationship that both sides have tried so hard to improve for their mutual best benefits for many years, Hua said.

“The arranged meeting between the U.S. leader and the Dalai Lama is an unjustified interference with China’s domestic affairs and a serious violation of the principles of international relations, and will cause great damage to China-U.S. relations,” she added.

Obama has met with the Dalai Lama twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.

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