Politics

Dalai Lama comes to Washington, will not see Obama

When the Dalai Lama visits Washington DC this week, there's one door he won't be knocking on - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Instead of any meeting with President Obama, the Tibetan spiritual leader will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otera. This will be the first time a sitting president has not met with the Dalai Lama during a visit to Washington, since 1991.

The Obama administration appears to want to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government by postponing any meeting. As Fox's Major Garrett reported last month, the White House has stated that a meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama will come after the president visits Chinese President Hu Jintao in November.

China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and has intensified its desire to isolate his Holiness in the aftermath of ethnic violence in China this summer.

As Major has also reported, back in mid-September White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett met with the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India, the location of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Jarrett's visit was meant to convey President Obama's respect for the Dalai Lama's role as leader of the Tibetan identity movement. According to a senior administration official, in the meeting with Jarrett the Dalai Lama said he is not pushing for independence for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has been visiting New York and Washington as part of 23-day trip to the US and Canada and has made no secret of his desire to meet with Obama this week.

The official said there will be a meeting, but after Obama's visit to Shanghai and Beijing in November as part of his attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Despite the apparent snub, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said Monday that the sequence of events means nothing, "I wouldn't necessarily read this decision, beyond what it is."

Major Garrett and Joe Danielewicz contributed to this report