BEIJING/LONDON: US President Barack Obama has angered China after warmly acknowledging Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and calling him “a good friend” at a national prayer breakfast in Washington, media reports said on Saturday.
Obama did not directly meet the Dalai Lama who was seated among the audience at the annual White House National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, but bowed to the Tibetan Buddhist leader and called him a “good friend”, The Guardian reported.
The Dalai Lama is “a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion and who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings”, Obama said during his speech.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Friday said that Beijing is “against foreign countries interfering in China’s domestic affairs under the pretext of Tibet-related issues”.
In December, Pope Francis declined to meet with the Dalai Lama amid a push by the Vatican to improve ties with Beijing.