President Obama will meet at the White House with the Dalai Lama on Thursday, February 18, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just announced in his on-going briefing.

The President has been trying to strike a political balance between upholding tradition and maintaining relations with China; which  sees the Tibetan spiritual leader as a threat to its sovereignty.

The meeting will take place in the Map Room. Why not the Oval Office? Gibbs says no President has met with the Dalai Lama there.

The Chinese are not likely to take kindly to the meeting; as recently as this month condemning the possibility of such a meeting.