China ready for dialogue over Tibet, says Wen (Lead)

March 13th, 2009 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing/Dharamsala, March 13 (IANS) Talks between China and the Dalai Lama may continue if the Tibetan leader is “sincere”, Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday. An aide of the Dalai Lama responded that the Tibetans were “still open to have face-to-face dialogue”.
Speaking to reporters after the National People’s Congress (NPC) closed its annual session, Wen said the central government held three rounds of talks last year with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.

“Such talks could continue as long as the Dalai Lama is sincere so as to ensure talks bear essential fruits,” Xinhua reported Wen as saying.

But he quickly added: “Tibet is an inalienable part of China and issues related to Tibet are China’s internal affairs which should not be interfered by foreign countries. Our stance toward Tibet is consistent and clear-cut.”

The door for talks, he said, was always open if the Dalai Lama gave up his separatist attempts.

Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at Dalai Lama’s office in Dharamsala in India, told IANS: “If Chinese are sincere with the dialogue process, we are still open to have face-to-face dialogue again.”

But he added that the Chinese should be “sincere, realistic in recognising that Tibet is an issue of international concern”.

Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said: “We are strict on our charter of demands submitted during the eighth round of talks in Beijing.

“If the Chinese want to restart the negotiations, then the demands of the exiles for meaningful autonomy and protection for the Tibet’s unique Buddhist culture would be in the forefront,” he said.

Wen said stability and development of Tibet had demonstrated that the Chinese government had carried out the right policies in the region.

“The situation in Tibet on the whole is stable. The Tibetan people hope to live and work in peace and stability.”

He added that the central government had increased fiscal input to Tibet to accelerate the region’s economic development.

The Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s envoys have held eight rounds of talks since 2002 to try and find a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue, with no major breakthrough.

During the last round of negotiations in November 2008, China insisted that it would not compromise on the status of the Himalayan region.

The government-in-exile has clarified that “the issue of Tibet concerns the future of six million Tibetans there and not just the exiled spiritual leader”.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist. But the spiritual leader says he wants to negotiate true autonomy for his homeland from where he fled in 1959 and sought shelter in India with thousands of his followers.

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