Santa Barbara (California, US), Apr.25 (ANI): Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has praised American democracy and thinks President Obama is realistic and open.
In an exclusive interview with FOX News during his five-city tour of the United States, the Dalai Lama said: "I think basically America is a champion of freedom, democracy, liberty.""Occasionally the administration neglects these principles, but overall, I think these principles are very much alive in this country," he added.
On President Obama, he said: "He seems, I think, very realistic, very open. He always reaches out. That's, I think, wonderful. Very good."
The Dalai Lama has visited the U.S. many times and met with the last three U.S. presidents but always in an unofficial capacity - never in the Oval Office.
But the Dalai Lama said official or unofficial doesn't matter to him.
"In what form, I don't care. Important thing is, meet. Talk. That's important," he said.
The possibility of a meeting comes amid continuing warnings from China, including as recently as Thursday, suggesting that the Obama administration should not meet with the exiled Tibetan leader, whom China has described as a separatist.
"That's quite routine. Nothing special," laughed the Dalai Lama, who has not been back to his native Tibet since he fled in 1959, nine years after Chinese troops seized control of the region.
As for threats from China, the spiritual leader pointed out that past warnings proved to have no teeth.
"Look, the meeting with the German Chancellor, the Chinese government was furious, and some programs were cancelled. Then meeting with French president, also similar. Then after a few months, nothing happened," he said.
On the global economic downturn, he said there is a positive side - if one is willing to recognize it.
"I think the global economic crisis, in a way, is good, to teach people who usually see their luxurious way of life. Now, I think it reminds people there are limitations. It's unrealistic to always expect grow, grow, grow, grow," he said. (ANI)