US President Barack Obama expressed "warm personal feelings" for the Dalai Lama in a meeting Wednesday at the White House at which the men discussed the situation in Tibet, spokesman Josh Earnest said.
The Dalai Lama offered Obama his condolences on a terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, this week, while Obama praised the Tibetan religious leader's "efforts to promote compassion, empathy, and respect for others," a White House statement about the meeting said.
The meeting took place in Obama's residence rather than in the Oval Office and was not open to the media because the Dalai Lama is not a head of state. Earnest said decisions about how the meeting was conducted were not influenced by the Chinese government.
Chinese authorities routinely protest visits by the Tibetan Buddhist leader in exile, who advocates autonomy for his home region, which China seized in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled during a 1959 crackdown by Chinese forces.
Obama stressed 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" and called for "meaningful and direct" dialogue between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama.
Obama maintained the US position that Tibet is part of China and that the US does not support independence for the region.
Both men are Nobel peace laureates, Obama having won in 2009, the Dalai Lama 20 years earlier.
It was the fourth meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama at the While House. Their last was in February 2015.