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Initiate talks with Dalai Lama, US tells China
March 27, 2008 09:40 IST
Expressing concerns over Beijing's [Images] harsh crackdown on Tibet [Images], US President George W Bush [Images] has asked his Chinese counterpart to re-open dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama [Images] to solve the crisis.
"President Bush telephoned President Hu Jintao of China today. The President raised his concerns about the situation in Tibet and encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives and to allow access for journalists and diplomats," a White House statement has said."The President pushed very hard on the need to -- concern about violence in Tibet, the need for restraint, the need for consultation with representatives of the Dalai Lama.
As you know, there have been consultations between Chinese authorities and representatives of the Dalai Lama in the past," National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said.
"Those have been suspended. The President urged that those be restored as part of a process for Chinese authorities to addressing, reaching out to and addressing the grievance of the people in Tibet," Hadley said in a briefing.
Hadley said: "I thought it was interesting that President Hu said that the government was willing to continue contacts in consultation with the Dalai Lama as long as -- and, again, as he said, there's an abandonment of Tibetan independence and stopping activities that involved crimes and the use of violence."
"And of course, as you know, the Dalai Lama has been very public in his views on both the issue of independence and the use of violence" the top White House official added.
"The question is whether this will turn out to be an opening for a consultation process between Chinese authorities and representatives of the Dalai Lama. So we'll have to see," Hadley said.
Hadley denied that President Hu brushed off Bush on Tibet.
"It was a very lengthy exchange. And it was well prepared, and you got a good flavor of it in the release that was issued by Beijing's authorities. It was a serious conversation on really all of the issues..." he said.
"We have talked a lot about Tibet. The secretary of state has made some comments. We've sent messages through a lot of channels. Particularly since the President was going to be talking to President Hu Jintao about Taiwan, he wanted to use that as an opportunity to talk about Tibet. And in some sense, the message is the same. There's an opportunity here and China needs to seize it," he said.
Hadley argued that "Olympics [Images] or no Olympics" these are important issues that need to be addressed.
Elections in Taiwan, the "wrongly" shipping of nuclear missile parts, North Korea and Myanmar also figured in the talks.
"On Burma, President Bush expressed his concern that the regime intends to hold a referendum that was drafted without input from democratic or ethnic minority groups. He
discussed with President Hu the need for the Burmese leadership to make changes to the referendum process to make it free, fair, and credible to the Burmese people and the international community," the White House said.