U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met a representative of the Dalai Lama in New Delhi on Wednesday, a move likely to anger Beijing which considers the Tibetan spiritual leader a dangerous separatist. The meeting was one of the most conspicuous contacts between U.S. and Tibetan officials since President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama in Washington in 2016.
A 435-kilometer (250-mile) rail line connecting Tibetan capital Lhasa with the city of Nyingchi entered into service on June 25, giving all 31 provincial-level regions of mainland China access to high-speed train travel. Some 90% of the route, which took six years to construct, sits higher than 3,000 meters above sea level. The Lhasa-Nyingchi line features 47 tunnels and 121 bridges — which account for about 75% of the whole route.
The head of the Tibetan government in exile has visited the White House for the first time in six decades, a move that could further infuriate China, which has accused the US of trying to destabilize the region. Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), was invited to Washington to meet officials on Friday, the CTA said.
The Dalai Lama has been admitted to hospital with a chest infection, an aide has said. Tenzin Taklha, the Tibetan spiritual leader’s personal secretary, added that the 83-year-old Buddhist monk’s condition was stable. The Dalai Lama, who fled to the country in early 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and lives there in exile. India officially calls him its “most esteemed and honored guest.” China, which took control of Tibet in 1950, brands the Nobel peace laureate a dangerous separatist. Many of the up to 100,000 Tibetans living in India are worried that their fight for a genuinely autonomous homeland would end with the Dalai Lama.