ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports:
President Obama met with the Dalai Lama this morning at the White House, despite objections.
Just like last year, the Dalai Lama came in and exited the White House through a door that is not accessible to reporters or cameras.
The meeting took place in what is considered the White House residence, the Map Room on the ground floor.
No president has ever welcomed the Dalai Lama to the Oval Office because protocol is that political leaders meet with the president there.
The Tibetan leader, in Washington for a Buddhist ritual, celebrated his 76th birthday on Wednesday.
There were questions about whether Obama would meet with the spiritual leader given China’s objections to his visiting the White House.
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India back in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown. China’s foreign minister had urged the White House to cancel the meeting.
The White House says the president reiterated his strong support for the preservation of traditions of Tibet and the Tibetan people throughout the world.
He also underscored the importance of human rights for Tibetans in China.
The White House also said the Dalai Lama told Obama that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that talks between his representatives and the Chinese government resume.
Mr. Obama and the Dalai Lama are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.