US Tibetan act may further worsen US-China ties

US-China relations are expected to become further aggravated, as Washington has enacted a law to support the Tibetan people's process of choosing a successor to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Sunday which says any interference by the Chinese government in the Dalai Lama's succession would be deemed to be a serious human rights violation leading to sanctions. The legislation calls on the administration to consider sanctions should Beijing interfere.

The law also says China will not be allowed to establish any new consulates in the US until Washington can open its own diplomatic outpost in Tibet's main city of Lhasa.

At a news conference on Monday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called Tibet-related issues an internal Chinese affair. He said the issues touch on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and no interference by any external forces would be allowed.

He urged the US to stop exploiting relevant issues aimed at interfering in China' internal affairs.

Relations between the two countries have soured over issues related to trade and the South China Sea.

The row could worsen further as US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a tough stance on Beijing over human rights issues in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.