SHANGHAI, Nov.21 (Reuters) – The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile visited the U.S. White House for the first time in six decades, a move that could further infuriate Beijing, which accused the United States of attempting destabilize the region. .
Lobsan Sangay, chairman of the Tibetan Central Administration (CTA), was invited to the White House to meet with the new US special coordinator for Tibetan issues, Robert Destro, on Friday, the CTA said in a press release.
“This unprecedented meeting will perhaps set an optimistic tone for CTA’s engagement with US officials and will be more formalized in the years to come,” said CTA, based in Dharamshalah, India.
Tibet has become one of the areas of contention between the United States and China, with relations between the world‘s two largest economies at their lowest point in decades.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Beijing in July of violating Tibetan human rights and said Washington supported “significant autonomy” for the region. Authorities have since accused the United States of using Tibet to try to promote “splittism” in China. China has also refused to engage with Destro. took control of Tibet in 1950 in what he described as a “peaceful liberation” that helped shed his “feudal past”, but critics led by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama say that Beijing’s reign amounts to “cultural genocide”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in August that China must build an “impregnable fortress” in Tibet in order to protect national unity.