Dalai Lama Meets with President Obama

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 U.S. government made solemn commitments. It acknowledges that there is only one China, that Tibet is an inseparable part of China and will never recognize the so-called Tibetan government in exile,” the spokesman, Lu Kang, said during a daily press briefing Tuesday.
“Under the cloak of religion, the 14th Dalai Lama peddles his political ambitions of dividing China all around the world,” the spokesman added. “We ask all countries and governments not to give him any room to carry out such campaigns, even less risking arousing the firm opposition from the 1.3 billion Chinese people.”
The Dalai Lama has said he supports Tibet having greater autonomy but does not seek outright independence for the region. The White House has stated that it shares this objective.

“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.

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