President Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House today, engaging the Tibetan leader over the objections of the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama said he was "very happy" with the meeting, during which Obama "commended the Dalai Lama's 'Middle Way' approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government," says Robert Gibbs.
The meeting took place in the White House Map Room, rather than the Oval Office, and was off-limits to press photographers—instead, a single photo was released. The low-key nature of the visit was meant to assuage the Chinese leadership, who are already unhappy enough with the meeting. "The optics of this thing are incredibly important to the Chinese," Michael Green, a former presidential adviser, tells the AP. "The Chinese government is preoccupied with protocol and how things look."