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U.S. delegation visits Dalai Lama after passing bill urging Tibet, China to settle dispute

A U.S. delegation visited the Dalai Lama on Wednesday after passing a bill urging Tibet and China to settle their dispute over Tibet's autonomy. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
A U.S. delegation visited the Dalai Lama on Wednesday after passing a bill urging Tibet and China to settle their dispute over Tibet's autonomy. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 19 (UPI) -- A delegation of high-level U.S. lawmakers visited the Dalai Lama after Congress last week passed a bill urging China to open dialogue to end its longstanding dispute with Tibet.

The delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and including former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif; Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y.; Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.; Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif.; and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, visited Tibet's government in exile in the Indian town of Dharamsala in the Himalayas.

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The Dalai Lama has lived in India, which recognizes Tibet as a part of China, since 1959, following Tibet's failed uprising.

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The delegation's visit comes as the Dalai Lama is set to visit the United States for medical treatments for his knees later this month and as President Joe Biden is expected to sign the Resolve Tibet Act, which passed through Congress with bipartisan support.

Although the United States also recognizes Tibet as part of China, the bill calls for the two sides to settle their dispute over Tibet's calls for autonomy.

China sees the Dalai Lama as a separatist and any contact with the Tibetan government as interfering in Chinese internal affairs.

The visit drew ire from Beijing as McCaul said Chinese officials warned them not to visit but he felt it was important to show the lawmakers' commitment to Tibet and their right to self-determination.

China's foreign affairs ministry publicly condemned the meeting on Tuesday, calling Tibet by its Chinese name of Xizang.

"The U.S. needs to see the true nature of the Dalai group -- who are anti-China and harbor a separatist agenda -- and honor commitments the U.S. has made to China on Xizang," the ministry said on X. "The U.S. must not have any contact with the group and stop sending the wrong message to the world."

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