Dalai Lama with Obama
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with President Barack Obama during their meeting in the Map Room of the White House in Washington DC on July 16, 2011.Flickr

US President Barack Obama and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama will both be present at the high-profile National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday. Although the two leaders will not be meeting in person publicly, China has expressed its displeasure at Dalai Lama's presence at the event.

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event hosted by the United States Congress since the last six decades, wherein the political, social, and business elite come together and build relationships. On the first Thursday of February each year, the President of the US sits at the head table with other speakers at the National Prayer Breakfast.

After Dalai Lama's presence in the event was confirmed, China vehemently expressed its displeasure.

Xinhua News Agency, China's official press agency also reminded Obama that he should think back on his own words spoken in Beijing about three months ago.

In a meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jingping, Obama had insisted that he has a better understanding of Chinese people's cherishing of their national unity and stability and that he "acknowledges Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China and does not back independence for the region".

China, which considers the Dalai Lama an anti-Chinese separatist due to his quest for greater Tibetan autonomy, has officially stated that it is against any world leader meeting with the spiritual leader.

"China is opposed to any nation or government using the Tibet issue to interfere in China's domestic affairs, and opposed to any country's leader meeting with the Dalai Lama in any manner," Reuters quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying. 

In the past also China has opposed to leaders meeting with Dalai Lama, like when Obama himself held his third meeting with the Dalai Lama in Washington last February. In 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to put his trip to China on hold after Beijing took offence at him holding a meeting with the Dalai Lama in London.

Meanwhile, there has been no announcement of Obama and Dalai Lama actually meeting during the event, considering the US President will be giving a speech and the latter would be seated amid 3000-plus guests.

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