18 Feb 2010

Dalai Lama to meet with Obama at White House

10:27 pm on 18 February 2010

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, despite objections from China.

The BBC reports the meeting comes amid tension between the United States and China, with disputes simmering over American arms sales to Taiwan, claims of Chinese cyber-spying and trade deals.

China, which views the Dalai Lama as a separatist, has warned the meeting will undermine relations.

The US is keeping formalities low-key and has downplayed China's concerns.

The meeting between the Nobel Peace Prize laureates will take place in the White House Map Room, with no cameras present, instead of the symbolic surroundings of the Oval Office, where Mr Obama normally meets foreign leaders and VIP guests.

The Dalai Lama will also meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

On his arrival in Washington on Wednesday, the Dalai Lama attended a ceremony to mark the Losar new year with fellow Tibetans.