STORY: A group of U.S. lawmakers met the Dalai Lama at his monastery in India on Wednesday (June 19).

The delegation said they would not allow China to influence the choice of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's successor - a comment that will likely anger Beijing.

The remarks come as Washington and Beijing seek to steady rocky ties while India pushes China to secure lasting peace on their disputed Himalayan frontier, four years after a bloody border clash.

Here's Republican Representative Michael McCaul:

"What the Dalai Lama knows is that this is not the truth, that Tibet is a part of China. And, the people of Tibet know that that is not true and the United States of America knows that, that is not true. But it is still my hope that one day the Dalai Lama and his people will return to their home in Tibet in peace."

The 88-year-old Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.

The question of his successor has been a thorny issue.

Tibetan tradition holds that the Dalai Lama is reincarnated after his death, and the current leader has said his successor may be found in India.

Beijing has said the tradition must continue but its officially atheist Communist leaders have the right to approve the successor, as a legacy inherited from China's emperors.

Analysts said it highlights the power and influence of the role, fueling Beijing's tussle to control it.

The U.S. lawmakers said President Joe Biden would soon sign a bill aiming to press China to resolve the Tibet dispute.

The bill seeks to push China to hold talks with Tibetan leaders and secure a negotiated agreement on Tibet.

Although Washington recognizes Tibet as a part of China, the bill appears to question that position.

Penpa Tsering, the political leader of the exiled Tibetan government, said the congressional approval of the bill was a "significant breakthrough" and believed it would put pressure on Beijing to negotiate.