His Holiness arrives in Washington for annual National Prayer Breakfast
DHARAMSALA, Feb 4: After concluding teachings in Sankisa in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the Washington Dulles International Airport on Feb 3 after making an overnight stop at Frankfurt.
The 79-yr-old Tibetan leader is in Washington to attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday where the US President Barrack Obama is also expected to attend.
On his arrival the Tibetan spiritual leader was received by State Department Chief of Protocol Ambassador Peter A. Selfridge and his Vice Chief, Penny Price; the First Secretary at the Indian Embassy, Satish Kumar Sivan and Tibetan Representative Kaydor Aukatsang.
The White House is yet to announce if the US President will attend the event and meet the Tibetan leader, marking the first time that the Tibetan leader will appear in public at an event with President Obama.
Amid reports about the Tibetan spiritual leader attending the public event, China, which regards the Tibetan leader a “separatist” and often calls him “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” who wants to split Tibet from China, warned U.S. President Barack Obama to avoid appearing with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader at the prayer meeting.
“We strongly oppose any country using the Tibetan matter to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular briefing on Monday in Beijing. “We strongly oppose any state leader to meet with the Dalai Lama in any manner.”
Hong urged the U.S. to “honor its promises on the Tibetan issues” and “properly handle relevant matters.”
President Obama has previously met with the Dalai Lama three times, most recently in February 2014 in the Map Room of the White House, despite the strong objections from the Chinese government.
The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual, historically Christian event at the Washington Hilton for hundreds of mostly evangelical and other faith leaders. The President of the United States and First Lady have long attended, and the President traditionally speaks.
Senator Casey (D., Pa.) and Senator Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) are co-chairing the congressional side of this year’s event. The breakfast is sponsored by a conservative evangelical group, the Fellowship, run by Douglas Coe.
After attending the National Prayer Breakfast, the Tibetan Nobel Peace laureate will visit Switzerland and Denmark over Feb 7-12 for a series of Buddhist teachings.