WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has told the Dalai Lama of his "strong support" for preservation of Tibet's identity and encouraged talks between the exiled Tibetan leader and China.
After private White House talks Obama had with the visiting Dalai Lama on Thursday, spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama stated support for "the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans" in China.
Speaking to reporters, the Dalai Lama declared himself "very happy" and said Obama was "very much supportive."
The meeting was kept low-key in deference to anger in China. Beijing considers the Buddhist monk a separatist, and Obama wanted to avoid overly riling China when its cooperation is needed on key priorities.