The Dalai Lama, visiting the White House today, offered President Obama condolences for the Orlando shootings.

The president and the Tibetan spiritual leader also talked about issues facing Tibetans living within China. The White House said in a statement:

"The President emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China."

The White House also said that the president "reiterated the longstanding U.S. position that Tibet is a part of the People's Republic of China, and the United States does not support Tibetan independence." The meeting, significantly, took place in the White House Map Room, not the Oval Office where the president meets with foreign heads of state.

Still, despite the president's efforts over the years to reassure China on this issue, Chinese officials expressed consternation over the meeting. During a press conference earlier in the day, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said:

"The 14th Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure, but a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist plots under the cloak of religion. If the US arranges such a meeting, it will send a wrong signal to the separatist forces trumpeting "Tibetan independence", and jeopardize China-US mutual trust and cooperation. China urges the US to honor its commitment of "recognizing Tibet as part of China and not supporting Tibetan independence", and stop supporting any Tibetan-independence forces."

After a failed uprising in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India from Tibet. Today, the religious leader says he supports greater autonomy for Tibet but not outright independence from China. The White House says the president expressed support for this "middle way" approach to Tibet.

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