BEIJING, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- China, already outraged over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Tuesday warned of damage to bilateral ties if U.S. leaders met with the Dalai Lama.
President Barack Obama plans to meet with the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan spiritual leader visits the United States but no date has been set.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister for the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, said the United States would violate international rules by meeting the Tibetan Buddhist monk, Xinhua reported.
Saying such a move would be both irrational and harmful, Zhu said, "If a country decides to do so, we will take necessary measures to help them realize this."
Zhu, who is in charge of talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama, made his comments while informing reporters about a lack of progress in five days of talks, CNN reported.
The report said the Dalai Lama has speaking engagements scheduled in the United States in late February and in May.
Last month, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said the president "has made clear to the Chinese government that we intend to meet with the Dalai Lama. It has been his every intention," CNN reported.
China, which has accused the Dalai Lama of advocating for Tibetan independence, has also been issuing dire warnings to the United States since Washington announced last week's to sell $6.4 billion of arms sales to Taiwan. China claims Taiwan and Tibet as part of its territory.
Representatives of the Dalai Lama have been pressing for genuine autonomy in Tibet in their several meetings with the Chinese but there has been no consensus. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959.