China urged the United States on Friday to scrap plans for President Barack Obama to meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama later in the day, warning it would "seriously damage" ties between the two countries, Reuters reports.
The White House National Security Council said Obama would meet the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices.
China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, maintains he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.
"It will seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations. We urge the United States to take seriously China's concerns, immediately cancel plans for the U.S. leader to meet the Dalai, do not facilitate and provide a platform for Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in the United States,"- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.
Both countries are increasingly inter-dependent and have to cooperate on international issues such as Iran and North Korea. China is also the United States' biggest foreign creditor. As of July 31, China held $1.28 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, according to Treasury Department data.