Will Trump Test the Limits of China’s Patience by Meeting With Dalai Lama?

Thursday, December 8, 2016
By Paul Martin


It is unclear whether Donald Trump will meet with the Dalai Lama who has been invited to the White House several times in the last decades, but the US president-elect has shown that he is ready to make decisions which could anger Beijing, including a phone conversation with the Taiwan leader, remarks on yuan and the South China Sea.

In late November, the spiritual leader of Tibet, who lives in exile, indicated that he wanted to meet Trump in person, something that Chinese leadership will strongly object to. Beijing has long maintained that the Nobel Peace Prize-winning monk could destabilize the country by calling for greater autonomy for Tibet and damage China’s relations with other nations.

In this context, America’s support for Tibetans in exile has been of particular concern for Beijing.

“I think that it will be hard for the Trump administration to revise the policy of supporting the Dalai Lama and Tibetan separatists,” Zhu Feng, an expert at Nanjing University’s School of International Studies, told Sputnik. This is to a large extent due to the fact that the American leadership “has placed a particular emphasis on promoting ‘democracy’ and ‘religious freedoms.’ In reality this has nothing to do with the Tibet issue and constitutes a flagrant interference in China’s domestic affairs,” he added.

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