President Obama held a White House meeting today with the Dalai Lama, hours after China called on the US to rescind the invitation. The White House said that during the 45-minute private session, Obama reiterated his support for the protection of Tibetans' human rights in China, as well as the preservation of Tibet's religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions. In a nod to the criticism from Beijing, Obama also stressed that he considers a cooperative relationship between the US and China vital, and he restated US policy that it does not support Tibetan independence.
In remarks after the meeting forwarded by Kate Saunders from the International Campaign for Tibet, the Dalai Lama said of his visit with Obama: "Firstly we developed a very close sort of feeling for each other." He said Obama expressed his concern over basic human rights and religious freedoms. "So naturally he shows genuine concern about suffering in Tibet and other places." Earlier, the Chinese Foreign Ministry huffed, "We firmly oppose any foreign official to meet with the Dalai Lama in any form."