China criticized a meeting between aides of President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, saying Tuesday it opposed any such engagements with the Tibetan spiritual leader, but stopping short of threatening a response.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing firmly opposed any foreign officials meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom China claims is intent on seizing independence for the Chinese region of Tibet. The Dalai Lama has said he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibetans.
A White House delegation including Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser and assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and Maria Otero, State Department Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, met Monday with Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, India. Jarrett also met with the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, on Sunday, but no details of their talks were released.
Mike Hammer, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said that Jarrett conveyed Obama's "respect" for the Nobel Peace laureate who has spent 50 years in exile.
"Tibetan religion and culture have made significant contributions to the world and the president wished Ms. Jarrett through her visit to honor them," Hammer said.
He said the Dalai Lama told the delegation of his pacifist "Middle Way" approach of seeking a future for Tibet within China, which sent troops into the Himalayan territory in 1950.
"We think his views deserve our attention and that of the Chinese government," Hammer said.
He did not comment on whether Obama would meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits Washington next month on his latest tour of North America.
But the Dalai Lama, in a statement released by his office, said that he "looks forward to meeting with President Obama after (Obama's) visit to China," which is not scheduled until
November.Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.