President Obama and the Dalai Lama held a private meeting in the White House on Wednesday. The Dalai Lama offered his condolences for the Orlando massacre. In addition, the two discussed issues facing Tibetans living in China today. They did not give specific details of the what was talked about in the meeting.
“The President emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China,” the White House said in a statement.
The president “reiterated the longstanding U.S. position that Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China, and the United States does not support Tibetan independence.”
The meeting ruffled Chinese officials, who see the Dalai Lama not just as a figurehead of Buddhism, but as a symbol of Tibet’s campaign for independence from Chinese control.
“The meeting wasn’t accompanied by any shift in U.S. policy,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.
“Both the Dalai Lama and President Obama value the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China,” Mr. Earnest said.