President Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House today, in spite of major objections beforehand from the Chinese government. Chinese officials had indicated that Obama’s meeting with the exiled Tibetan leader would strain the relationship between the two countries.
Obama commended the Dalai Lama’s “commitment to nonviolence” in the meeting, and praised him for pursuing a dialogue with the Chinese government.
The president communicated his “strong support for the preservation of unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans” during the meeting, according to a White House statement.
Perhaps aware of the meeting’s sensitivity, Obama met with the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room (part of the presidential residence) instead of the more formal Oval Office. Some analysts said it is possible China could respond by cutting off political exchanges with the U.S., as happened after the Dalai Lama met with the heads of state of Germany and France.