- Oct 22, 2009
Link.President Barack Obama hosted exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House on Thursday, drawing an angry reaction from China and risking further damage to strained Sino-US ties.
Obama used his first presidential meeting with the Dalai Lama to press China, under international criticism for its Tibet policies, to preserve Tibetan identity and respect human rights.
He sat down with the Dalai Lama, reviled by the Chinese government as a dangerous separatist, in the face of wider tensions over US weapons sales to Taiwan, China's currency practices and Internet censorship.
While defying Beijing's demands to scrap the talks and showing a willingness to irritate an increasingly assertive China, the White House took pains to keep the encounter low-key, barring media coverage. But it later posted a photo on its official website of the two men side by side in conversation.