China has urged U.S. President Barack Obama to call off a meeting at the White House with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that's scheduled to take place Friday.
"By arranging a meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, the U.S. side will grossly interfere in the internal affairs of China, seriously violate norms governing international relations and severely impair China-U.S. relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement Friday.
The White House on Thursday announced the planned meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile.
Obama has met with the Dalai Lama twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011. China responded to those meetings with similarly angry comments.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist who foments unrest in Tibet, a region it claims has been part of China since "ancient times."
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising, has long denied China's assertion that he's seeking Tibetan independence. He says he wants only enough autonomy to protect its traditional Buddhist culture.
The Obama administration says it supports the Dalai Lama's "Middle Way" approach to the political tensions over protests for Tibetan independence.
"The United States recognizes Tibet to be a part of the People's Republic of China and we do not support Tibetan independence," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. "The United States strongly supports human rights and religious freedom in China."