By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, June 16: President Barack Obama on June 15 hosted the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a private meeting at the White House despite China warning that it will hamper their diplomatic relations.
President Obama’s met with His Holiness at the white House residence instead of the oval office, the office of the President of the United States where the President usually meets world leaders.
White House spokesman, Josh Earnest said the choice of the residence emphasized the “personal nature of their meeting”, reports The Sunday Morning Herald, June 16, 2016.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang earlier had warned Washington a day ahead of the meeting saying, “the meeting will send a wrong signal to Tibet independence and separatist forces and harm China-US mutual trust and cooperation,” reports United Press International June 16, 2016.
This is President Obama’s fourth meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader at the White House; the meeting was held behind closed doors with no media coverage.
Reaffirming that the United States’s position of considering Tibet as a part of China had not changed, White House press secretary, Josh Earnest said, “the United States has not articulated our support for Tibetan independence and both the Dalai Lama and President Obama values the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China.”
Later in an interview to the Fox news, His Holiness revealed that they talked about the current situation in Tibet. In the same interview, His Holiness gave assurance that he was not seeking independence and that it was in Tibet’s interests to remain part of China, provided that Tibetans have the full right to preserve their own culture, or rich Buddhist knowledge and knowledge of Buddhist philosophy.