|[16 June 2016] The Dalai Lama met President Barack Obama in Washington DC on 15 June amidst criticism from China. Following the meeting, Obama expressed his “strong support” for the protection of Tibetans’ human rights and called for the resumption of Sino-Tibet dialogue.
The Dalai Lama, on a 19-day trip to the USA, met President Obama at the White House on Wednesday morning. The 45-minute meeting was the fourth between the two leaders and is expected to be the last for Barack Obama as US President.
The White House issued a press statement following the meeting which stated, “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.”
In addition, “The President encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences.”
The Chinese government condemned the meeting, saying, “Tibet affairs are part of China’s internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.” A Chinese Foreign spokesman added, “[The meeting] will send the wrong signal to Tibet independence and separatist forces and harm China-US mutual trust and cooperation.”
During his trip to Washington DC, the Dalai Lama also met with members of the Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The White House statement in full:
The White House
The President met today with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.
The President accepted the Dalai Lama’s condolences for the shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12 and commended the Dalai Lama for his efforts to promote compassion, empathy, and respect for others. The President and the Dalai Lama discussed the situation for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China, and 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 President lauded the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach.
The President encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences. In this context, 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 Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China.
The President welcomed the Dalai Lama’s leadership on climate change issues, and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of limiting global warming, including to protect the Himalayan glaciers and the environment on the Tibetan plateau.
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