BEIJING (AFP) - China on Saturday accused the United States of meddling in its domestic affairs after President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House, and said it is up to Washington to take steps to avoid further damaging ties.
"The US seriously interfered in China's internal affairs by allowing the Dalai's visit to the United States and arranging the meetings with US leaders," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.
"We urge the US to take China's concerns seriously, stop tolerance and support of anti-China separatist forces, cease interfering in China's internal affairs and immediately take measures to eliminate its baneful influence to avoid further impairment to China-US relations."
China had warned on Friday after news broke of the planned meeting that an encounter between Mr Obama and the Dalai Lama would damage relations between Washington and Beijing, and urged the US to cancel it.
Beijing considers Tibet an integral part of its territory and regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist.
The meeting went ahead, however, with Mr Obama on Friday offering his "strong support" for the protection of Tibetans' human rights in China.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui late on Friday in Beijing summoned the charge d'affaires at the US embassy to protest the meeting, the ministry said in a separate statement.
"China expressed strong indignation and firm opposition" to the "erroneous acts" of the US in interfering in China's internal issues, the ministry quoted Mr Zhang as saying.
The ministry statement identified the US official by a Chinese name, but the official Xinhua news agency in an English-language report gave his name as Mr Daniel Kritenbrink.
"Tibetan issues fall purely into the domestic affairs of China," Mr Zhang said. "The US has no right to interfere." The meeting with the Dalai Lama "will seriously sabotage China-US relations and surely impair the interests of the US itself," he said.
"The US must take concrete actions to win the trust of the Chinese government and its people."
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.