The Dalai Lama intends to meet with President Obama at the White House on February 18. The Dalai Lama is considered to be a moral authority in much of the world. He is a Nobel Peace Laureate who many esteem as a leader in the fight for human rights.
The Febrary 18th meeting marks the Dalai Lama's second attempt to meet the President. The Dalai Lama and Obama had arrangements to meet last October because of pressure from China, the plans were canceled. U.S. officials postponed the meeting because of the Dalai Lama's support of Tibet's independence from China. A spokesperson from the White House addressed the issue with a statement last fall that said "Tibet could be better addressed in a November summit between Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao if Chinese leaders weren't furious over a recent meeting between the Dalai Lama and Obama."
The February 18th meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama could further tensions between China and the United States. Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Wang Baodong, addressed the already strained ties between the U.S. and China warning the U.S. to cancel the meeting "so as to avoid further negative impact on bilateral relations."