US-Tibet Meeting Marks Historic Diplomatic Milestone Amidst China Tension

Tibetan government-in-exile leader Lobsang Sangay made history today by meeting US Tibet envoy Robert Destro, marking the first-ever encounter between the Central Tibetan Administration’s president and a US State Department official. Sangay shared a photo of their meeting on Facebook, expressing gratitude for the invitation, extended by the State Department, calling it a significant milestone.

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Robert Destro’s confirmation as the special coordinator for Tibetan issues underscores US efforts to address China’s control over Tibet, highlighting concerns about human rights abuses and forced labor in the region.

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In response to Destro’s appointment, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned China’s repression of the Tibetan community, citing limitations on autonomy, deteriorating human rights conditions, and religious and cultural restrictions faced by Tibetans within China.

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China swiftly denounced the move, labeling it as foreign interference in its internal affairs and accusing the US of political manipulation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian emphasized that Tibet matters are solely China’s concern, rejecting external intervention.

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The timing of Destro’s appointment adds to China’s geopolitical tensions, amidst its efforts to quell autonomy demands in Hong Kong and manage disputes with Taiwan, which asserts its independence.

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Destro’s involvement in diplomatic initiatives, such as the recent trade deals signed during a visit to Taiwan, signals US efforts to strengthen ties with both Taiwan and Tibet, as part of broader strategies to exert pressure on China.