U.S. President Barack Obama has told the Dalai Lama of his "strong support" for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity, and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in China.
The president met at the White House Thursday with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, despite protests from China.
A statement from the White House says the president commended the Dalai Lama's commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. It says Mr. Obama and Dalai Lama also agreed on the importance of a "positive and cooperative" relationship between the United States and China.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Dalai Lama said he is "very happy" and it was a great honor to see the president. He said he and Mr. Obama discussed the promotion of religious harmony and human values, and the increased role of women in leadership roles.
The meeting has drawn angry comments from China, which said it "firmly opposes" it. China last week called on the U.S. to "immediately withdraw" the invitation.