Two weeks after the White House was blindsided by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned visit to Washington, another world figure who creates awkward politics for President Obama is coming to town Thursday.
The Dalai Lama is not a head of state, and he formally gave up his political role in Tibet’s exile government three years ago. But his appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, where Obama will deliver an address about religious freedom, has already drawn sharp objections from Chinese leaders, who oppose meetings between the religious leader and world politicians.
Each of Obama’s three meetings with the Dalai Lama at the White House has brought a similar rebuke from Beijing. In a bid to head off tensions, administration officials emphasized that the White House played no role in arranging the Dalai Lama’s appearance at the annual breakfast at the Washington Hilton. There are no plans for them to meet.[Source]