President Barack Obama met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices, and in spite of warnings from China that the visit would "seriously damage" ties with Washington.
The private meeting appeared to last about an hour, although the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was not seen by White House photographers as he entered or exited the complex.
Obama reiterated his support for Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions and human rights for Tibetans, the White House said in a statement.
"The president stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve longstanding differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans," the statement said.
Obama also said he does not support Tibetan independence from China and the Dalai Lama said he was not seeking it, the White House said.
It was the third time Obama had met the Dalai Lama, who the White House calls "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader." Previous meetings were in February 2010 and July 2011.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders