Beijing: Days after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama cancelled his visit to Botswana, China said its ties with the African country will progress smoothly.
Beijing said it “attaches great importance” to Botswana where state-run Chinese companies are engaged in infrastructure building.
Botswana had invited the Dalai Lama to speak at the three-day human rights conference in the capital Gaborone, to which he had confirmed his presence. The event begins on August 17.
However, China was angry and warned Botswana against hosting the Dalai Lama, who has been demanding greater autonomy in China’s Tibet.
On Saturday, the Dalai Lama said he was cancelling his Botswana visit due to “exhaustion”.
“His Holiness has reluctantly had to concede that his 82-year-old body was telling him to rest,” a statement said.
Reacting to the development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama to go to any country to engage in anti-China activities in any capacity or name.
“China attaches great importance to its friendly cooperation with Botswana. We hope the bilateral relations will move forward steady and sound way,” she said.
China slams any country that invites or maintains contact with the Dalai Lama who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet. He has lived in India since then.