US President Barack Obama will meet Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel peace laureate, at the White House on Friday. “The President will meet the Dalai Lama in his capacity as an internationally respected religious and cultural,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said.
Obama met the Dalai Lama in February 2010 and July 2011, she said adding that the US Presidents of both parties over the past three decades have met with the Dalai Lama in the White House.
Hayden said the United States supported the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans but recognised Tibet to be “a part of China”.
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“We do not support Tibetan independence,” she said. Hayden said the US strongly supports human rights and religious freedom in China.
“We are concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China. We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions,” Hayden said. The Nobel peace prize winner, who is here for a two-week tour of the US west coast, on Thursday told a Washington audience that he is warming to capitalism.
“Now after listening to the presenters, I developed more respect about capitalism. Otherwise, my impression is capitalism only take the money, then exploitation,” the Dalai Lama said at a panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute.