Wednesday, July 24, 2024

U.S. lawmakers meet Dalai Lama in India despite China’s warnings

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Tibetan nuns holding the U.S., Indian and Tibetan flags wait to welcome a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, led by Republican Representative Michael McCaul and including Democratic former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Kangra airport in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh on June 18, 2024.

Tibetan nuns holding the U.S., Indian and Tibetan flags wait to welcome a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, led by Republican Representative Michael McCaul and including Democratic former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Kangra airport in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh on June 18, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

A group of influential U.S. lawmakers met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on June 19 at his home in India’s Himalayas, officials said, despite China’s warnings to avoid contact with the Buddhist monk it calls a separatist.

The bipartisan group of seven met the 88-year-old Nobel peace laureate at his monastery in the northern town of Dharamsala, they said, a day after arriving to a warm reception by school children, Buddhist monks and nuns.

Also Read | Tibetans want more autonomy, not independence or political separation from China: Dalai Lama

The team, led by Michael McCaul, a Republican representative from Texas, who also chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, includes Democratic former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon her arrival at the Kangra Airport, in Dharamshala on June 18, 2024.

Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon her arrival at the Kangra Airport, in Dharamshala on June 18, 2024.
| Photo Credit:
PTI

Issues the lawmakers are set to discuss with the Dalai Lama include a U.S. bill that aims to press China to resolve the Tibet dispute and awaits President Joe Biden’s signature, Mr. McCaul said on Tuesday.

Beijing, which calls the Dalai Lama a dangerous “splittist” or separatist, said it was seriously concerned about the visit and the bill.

It urged the lawmakers not to make contact with what it calls the “Dalai clique” and Biden not to sign the bill.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. Chinese officials chafe at any interaction he has with officials of other countries.

The Dalai Lama has met U.S. officials, including presidents, during previous visits to the United States, but Mr. Biden has not met him since taking office in 2021.

He is due to fly to the U.S. this week for medical treatment, but it is unclear if he will have any engagements then.


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