WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Thursday offered support for Tibets spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his Himalayan homeland, defying Chinese anger by meeting the exiled monk at the White House. Despite careful US arrangements to keep his visit off-camera, the Dalai Lama walked out of the White House residence and straight to a large group of waiting reporters, telling them he was very happy with the 45-minute meeting. The President was... supportive, the Dalai Lama said outside the West Wing of the White House, adding that his cause was just and one of peace. The Dalai Lama also drew a circle and two lines in the snow outside the White House Press briefing room a symbol that may have been a reference to the Tibetan flag. Such unscripted movements are unusual for VIPs at the White House, but preparations for the Dalai Lama were anything but ordinary. Hoping to limit Chinese protests, Obama received his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate in the White Houses Map Room not the Oval Office, the seat of presidential power and allowed no cameras inside. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later said that Obama had voiced support for the Dalai Lama and his Middle Way approach of using non-violence to pursue greater rights for Tibet underneath Chinese rule. The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibets unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the Peoples Republic of China, Gibbs said. The President commended the Dalai Lamas 'Middle Way approach, his commitment to non-violence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government, Gibbs said. Gibbs also said that the United States supported the renewed dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama. Envoys of the Tibetan leader went to China last month, restarting talks after a more than one-year gap. But the talks have made no tangible progress. Supporters chanted and waved Tibetan and US flags in snowy Lafayette Square across from the White House to welcome the Dalai Lama, who has now met every sitting US president since George H W Bush in 1991. China fiercely opposes any foreign contact with the 74-year-old Buddhist leader, who fled his Chinese-ruled homeland in 1959 for India and has since built an enthusiastic global following for his spiritual teachings. The Obama administration said it is committed to a constructive relationship with China. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China, Gibbs said. The Obama administration took office last year pledging to broaden cooperation with the rising Asian power on a range of issues including reviving the wobbly global economy and battling climate change. Despite criticism at home, Obama did not meet the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan leader visited Washington last year in an apparent bid to start relations on the right foot with China. But the administration has gone ahead since the start of the year with several decisions that China had warned against, including approving 6.4 billion dollars in weapons for Taiwan. Beijing claims the self-ruling island. China had warned that Obama was damaging relations. China resolutely opposes the visit by the Dalai Lama to the United States, and resolutely opposes US leaders having contact with the Dalai Lama, foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said before the meeting. But some US-based analysts believe Chinas protests may be geared more for domestic consumption and that its leaders, like Obama, see the benefits of cooperation between the worlds largest developed and developing nations. Just hours before the meeting with the Dalai Lama, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier arrived for a visit in Hong Kong despite Chinas vows to cut off military ties with the United States due to the Taiwan arms deal.