China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei also called on the United States to handle the issue in accordance with the interests of U.S.-China relations.
 The White House said last week that Obama would deliver remarks at a February 5 prayer breakfast about the importance of upholding religious freedom. The Dalai Lama is due to attend.
The White House tried to play down the simultaneous appearance, stressing the two men have met three times before. Officials said there was no "specific meeting" between them to announce.

Previous meetings have been held behind closed doors and outside the Oval Office, in a move designed to limit the diplomatic fallout with China.

The 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has lived in exile in India ever since.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to split Tibet from the rest of China and of fomenting unrest in the region.

Previous meetings between Obama and the Nobel prize winner have been met with formal Chinese diplomatic protests that have soured relations between the world's two largest economies.

Obama is expected to use the Thursday prayer breakfast with clergy from several faiths -- an annual Washington political tradition -- to talk about the importance of upholding religious freedom.

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