WASHINGTON: Despite China's firm opposition, the White House on Thursday announced that US President Barack Obama plans to meet the Dalai Lama next week.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the meeting is scheduled on February 18.
China has been repeatedly urging the United States to immediately withdraw a decision of arranging Obama to meet with the Dalai Lama.
Responding to the White House announcement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China has lodged solemn representation with the United States over such a decision,
"China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama visiting the United States and US leaders' contacting with him," Ma said in a statement, adding China's position on the issue has been "consistent and clear."
"We urge the US side to fully understand the high sensitivity of Tibet-related issues, honor its commitment to recognizing Tibet as part of China and opposing 'Tibet independence,'" he said.
Ma also called on the Unites States to refrain from offering the Dalai Lama venue and convenience for his engagement in anti-China splitting activities, and undermining the stability of Tibet and interfering in China's internal affairs, so as to avoid further damage to Sino-US relations.