White House first for Tibet
The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile has visited the White House for the first time in six decades, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said on Saturday, a move that could further enrage Beijing which has accused the US of trying to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
Dr Lobsang Sangay entered the White House on Friday — a historic feat. This is the first time in the last 6 decades the head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has been invited into the White House, the CTA said in a statement.
“It is a great honour to be the first political head of the Central Tibetan Administration to formally enter the White House,” Sangay said in a tweet.
“Today’s visit amounts to an acknowledgement of both the democratic system of the CTA and its political head... This unprecedented meeting perhaps will set an optimistic tone for CTA participation with US officials and be more formalised in the coming years,” said the CTA, which is based in Dharamshala.
Sangay, the president of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), was invited to the White House to meet the newly appointed US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Robert Destro, on Friday, it said.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on October 15 named senior diplomat Destro as Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues, who, among other matters, would focus on advancing dialogue between the Communist government in China and the Dalai Lama.
Announcing Destro’s appointment, Pompeo said it was consistent with the Tibetan Policy Act and he will lead the US efforts to promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives; protect the unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity of Tibetans; and press for their human rights to be respected.
China has criticised Destro’s appointment, saying it amounted to political manipulation aimed at destabilising Tibet.