President Barack Obama will receive the Dalai Lama Saturday, the White House announced on the eve of this new meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader who is likely to upset China.
“I can confirm that they will meet tomorrow,” said a White House official who requested anonymity.
“We are firmly opposed to any separation activity of the Dalai Lama during foreign visits,” said Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We are firmly opposed to any foreign government or politician who supports and encourages such activities.”
The meeting scheduled for Saturday shows strong support of the president to the preservation of the religious, cultural and linguistic uniqueness of Tibet and the protection of human rights of Tibetans, the White House said in a statement.
The president will mark its support for dialogue between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government to resolve their differences, said the American presidency.
The meeting is scheduled for 11:30 (1530 GMT) outside the gaze of the media and in the Map Room, not in the Oval Office where U.S. presidents are heads of state.
Obama met with the Dalai Lama last year, angering Beijing, which accuses the leader of the Tibetans to seek independence from the roof of the world. The Dalai Lama, who left his country in 1959 after a failed uprising against the Chinese presence, says that he only calls for genuine autonomy.