A White House visit by the head of the exiled-Tibetan government could anger China.
The Washington meeting between Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Administration, and the recently appointed US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Robert Destro, was the first of its kind in six decades, Reuters reported. In prior years, Sangay was denied entry to the US because it doesn’t recognize his government.
“Today’s visit amounts to an acknowledgment of both the democratic system of the CTA and its political head,” said the CTA, which is based in India.
The exiled regime’s website said prior to the White House meeting, Sangay had undisclosed meetings with U.S. officials more than a dozen times in the past 10 years, The Week reported, including a meeting with Destro last month.
China, which seized control over Tibet in 1950, has accused the U.S. of trying to destabilize the region. Beijing claims its rule there helped throw off its “feudalist past,” but critics, led by the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, say it amounts to “cultural genocide.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Beijing in July of violating Tibetan human rights and said Washington supported “meaningful autonomy” for the region.