WASHINGTON — US House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday pledged support for the Dalai Lama during a meeting at the Capitol, hailing the exiled monk as an example to the United States and the world.

The head of the House of Representatives said that US lawmakers spoke with the Dalai Lama about "our shared values not just in Tibet and China, but in the Middle East as well."

"His example humbles nations such as ours that work to spread freedom, tolerance and respect for human dignity," Boehner said, flanked by lawmakers from both major US parties.

"And it sustains those who struggle to secure these universal values for themselves and their families," he said.

"We extend to you, on behalf of the people we serve, our solidarity, our support and our hope that you will come back and visit us soon," he said.

China, which sent troops into Tibet in 1950, opposes any meetings by foreign dignitaries with the Dalai Lama and has warned the United States not to welcome him on his current visit.

The White House has declined comment on whether President Barack Obama will meet the Dalai Lama, who is in Washington through next week to lead a major Buddhist ritual known as the Kalachakra.