Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has met with Australia's acting leader in Sydney, drawing protests from Beijing.
Senator Chris Evans was the country's highest ranking official available to meet with the Dalai Lama Friday. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is on an official visit in Indonesia and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is on business in New Zealand.
There was no press conference after the brief meeting, which was held at a hotel in Sydney. Mr. Evans's office issued a statement saying the Australian government encourages both the Dalai Lama and China to continue their dialogue.
China has accused the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for Tibet. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, warned Australia on Thursday against facilitating the Dalai Lama's separatist activities on its territory.
The Dalai Lama will also conduct a series of Buddhist meditation seminars while in Australia.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, he reiterated his calls for more autonomy for his Himalayan homeland. The Dalai Lama says he expects formal talks between his representatives and the Chinese government to resume within the next month.