China said Monday it was concerned about a meeting between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and the Dalai Lama, saying Americans should realize the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is trying to split the country.
McCain and the Dalai Lama met for 45 minutes Friday in Colorado. The presumptive Republican nominee called on China to release Tibetan prisoners and account for any people who disappeared during an uprising earlier this year in Tibet and surrounding areas.
Tibet is an internal affair and China opposes anyone using the Dalai Lama to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a notice posted on the ministry's Web site on Monday.
"We urge relevant Americans to conform to the basic standard of international relations and realize the fact that the Dalai is trying to split China and undermine the social order of Tibet and the ethnic unity under the cover of religion," Liu said.
In his meeting with the exiled spiritual leader, McCain said the Olympic Games starting on Aug. 8 provide a good opportunity for China to demonstrate that it recognizes human rights. He also said the Dalai Lama is merely seeking basic rights to preserve Tibetan culture, language and religion.
The Dalai Lama praised McCain for his concern, but emphasized he wasn't endorsing McCain's presidential bid. The Dalai Lama was in Aspen for a symposium on Tibet at The Aspen Institute.