China slams Botswana for going ahead with Dalai Lama's visit; says will not accept foreign interference

Beijing: China on Wednesday slammed Botswana for going ahead with the Dalai Lama's visit despite its strong objection, saying it will not accept foreign countries' interference in China's internal affairs and harming Beijing's interests.

File image of Dalai Lama. Reuters

File image of Dalai Lama. Reuters

"We noted relevant reports. China has stated clearly its position on the Dalai Lama's visits to relevant countries. I want to stress that Xizang (Chinese name for Tibet) related issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will require relevant countries earnestly respect China's core interests and make correct decisions on relevant issues" Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

"China will not interfere in other countries affairs, we will not accept other countries to do things that harm the interest of China", he said.

On 14 July, Chinese foreign ministry said it had firmly opposed to Botswana for permitting the Dalai Lama visit and asked it to "accommodate China's core interests".

The 82-year-old Tibetan leader is due to speak at the three-day "Mind and Life Dialogue" conference in Botswana's capital Gaborone on 19 August.

Earlier, reports from Botswana said President Ian Khama will be meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Botswana confirmed on Tuesday that it will allow the Dalai Lama to visit the country next month as "a foreign dignitary" and that the trip was a "purely private visit".

On China's objections, Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi told lawmakers that "the principle of non-interference in the international affairs of other countries is at the core of China's foreign policy".

"We therefore expect... China to respect our sovereign decision on this matter," the Minister said and expressed hope that the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader will not affect the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries.

China is a big investor in Africa and has built coal-fired power plants besides road networks and bridges in Botswana.

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 17:29 PM

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