Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday praised US President Barack Obama for taking up the issue of Tibet "very seriously" with Chinese leaders on his recent trip to China.


During a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao last Tuesday, Obama discussed the thorny issue of Tibet and urged early resumption of talks between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama over the region's future.

"He, actually publicly as well as behind the scenes, has really taken up the issue of Tibet with Chinese leaders very seriously," the Dalai Lama told reporters in the Indian capital.

The Dalai Lama has been living in India since he fled Tibet following a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule.

In Beijing on Tuesday, Obama said the United States recognised Tibet as part of China.

But Obama added Washington "supports the early resumption of dialogue" between the Dalai Lama's envoys over Tibet where violent protests erupted last year against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama's office said after Obama's comments that the Tibetan leader was ready for the resumption of discussions with China.

China in March said it was open to fresh talks over Tibet with the Dalai Lama. But it repeated demands for the spiritual leader to renounce "separatist" activities.

The spiritual leader has consistently denied claims by China he is seeking independence for Tibet, saying he is only seeking "meaningful autonomy."

China has stepped up pressure on world leaders, including Obama, not to meet the Dalai Lama.

Obama came under fire from critics who accused him of caving in to Chinese pressure for not meeting the Buddhist leader when he visited Washington in early October.

But officials said the two leaders were likely to meet after Obama's trip to China though no date has been set.