In a major development Botswana confirmed that it would allow the Tibetan spiritual leaders Dalai Lama to visit next month as “a foreign dignitary.”
This is seen as a huge shock to China as anything related with Tibet or Dalai Lama is an extremely sensitive issue for China.
Though China has urged Botswana to respect China’s core interests and make correct decisions on Tibetan issues, but Botswana has made it very clear that it will allow the Dalai Lama to visit next month.
“Tibetan issues are related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters at a regular press conference on Wednesday.
Botswana expects China to “respect our sovereign decision on this matter,” Botswana Foreign Minister PelonomiVenson-Moitoi told lawmakers on Tuesday, because “the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries is at the core of China’s foreign policy,” AFP reported.
Lu responded on Wednesday, saying “China doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, but it shouldn’t tolerate other countries which do things that harm China’s core interests.”
Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule, has long been at loggerheads with China, which sent its troops into Tibet in 1950.
The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, denies he is seeking independence for his Himalayan homeland. He says he is merely seeking greater rights, including religious freedom and genuine autonomy.