Obama meets with Dalai Lama: US "does not support independence for Tibet"


President Barack Obama meets with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House, Saturday, July 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

China strenuously objected to US President Barack Obama's private meeting today with the Tibetan spiritual and political leader, saying any dialogue with the Dalai Lama "damaged the Sino-American relations."

China has little to worry about, it seems: the White House issued a statement in which Obama stressed the U.S. policy that "Tibet is a part of the People's Republic of China and the United States does not support independence for Tibet." But the Dalai Lama himself does not propose "independence," per se, which makes the president's statement seem all the more like an attempt to placate China.

In a statement released after the 45-minute meeting, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama also "underscored the importance of the protection of human rights of Tibetans in China," and "commended the Dalai Lama's commitment to nonviolence and dialogue with China."

More at CNN, Reuters here, here's a New York Times piece, and here is the Xinhua item.