In a historic feat, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Lobsang Sangay entered the United States White House on Saturday. This is the first time in six decades that the head of CTA has been invited into the White House.
Last month, Sangay became the first CTA official to be formally invited into the US State Department to meet Assistant Secretary and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Robert Destro. For several decades, the Tibetan president was denied entry to the US State Department and the White House as it did not recognize the Tibetan government in exile. Saturday’s visit was a perceived sign of acknowledgement of both the democratic system of the CTA and its chief.
Lobsang Sangay met the White House officials over a dozen times in the past 10 years since he became the President of Tibet in 2011. However, the meetings were always held at undisclosed locations. Friday’s meeting at the White House may pave the way for a more formalised CTA participation with US officials in the coming years.
The development comes amid heightened tension between the US and China on a host of issues including trade, human rights, frictions between Beijing and its neighbours and also COVID-19 pandemic. Expressing strong disapproval of President Sangay’s meeting with US officials, the CPC government has asked Washington to stop interfering in Beijing’s “internal affairs or undermining the development and stability of the country’s Tibet region”.