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President Barack Obama met Friday at the White House with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The White House said the President was having the meeting in a show of concern about China's human rights practices
China had urged the United States to scrap plans for the meeting it warned would "seriously damage" ties between the two countries.
"The President, as he has in the past and as Presidents of both parties have done dating back to 1991, met today as we said in the readout with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his capacity as an internationally respected religious and cultural leader," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
"When it comes to the relationship the U.S. has with China, the President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and constructive U.S./China relationship and of course we are committed to a constructive relationship with China in which we work together to solve regional and global problems. So again this is in keeping with past practice, the meeting the President had today with His Holiness in his capacity as a respected religious and cultural leader," Carney said.
Dalai Lama meets with Obama (1:01)
Feb.21-White House says Dalai Lama meeting is in keeping with past precedent but China says it will damage countries' ties. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )