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I am ready for talks with China: Dalai Lama
March 20, 2008 19:40 IST
Unfazed by China's hardline rhetoric, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama [Images] on Thursday said that he was ready for talks with Chinese leaders and added that he wanted to travel to Beijing [Images] once the violent protests in Lhasa subside.
As he asked world leaders to help lobby for dialogue with China over the Tibetan crisis, the Dalai told reporters that he was ready to meet President Hu Jintao.
The Dalai said that he has always been ready to meet Chinese leaders, in particular Hu Jintao, although he felt it was not practical to go to Beijing at this moment.
"Still, if concrete indications come from China, sure I will be happy," he said, adding, "when the time comes to go there, I am ready after this crisis -- in a few weeks, in a few months."
Offering talks with China for the second time in as many days, following violent protests in Tibet, the Dalai also said that he feared several casualties from China's crackdown.
The spiritual leader's comments came even as China today all but ruled out talks with the Dalai Lama despite mounting international pressure for a dialogue.
"The Dalai Lama must give up his proposition for Tibetan independence, stop his splittist activities and recognise that Tibet is a part of China, and that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government of all of China," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.
Dalai Lama's comments also came a day after Pope Benedict XVI and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown added their voices to the growing international chorus in favour of negotiations between China and the Dalai Lama.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said that Beijing was willing to hold talks, but only after the Dalai Lama gave up what is viewed in China as a campaign for Tibetan independence.