Contact: Mr. Thubten Samphel
1. In continuation of the process started with the re-establishment of direct contact with the Chinese leadership in September 2002, my colleague envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and I, accompanied by two members of the Task Force, Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering, visited China from February 15 to 23, 2006.
2. We had a day-long meeting with the Executive Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun, on February 22, 2006, in Guilin City during which we dealt with substantive issues.
3. As a result, today there is a better and deeper understanding of each other’s position and the fundamental differences that continue to exist in the position held by the two parties.
4. This round of discussion also made it clear that there is a major difference even in the approach in addressing the issue. However, we remain committed to the dialogue process and are hopeful that progress will be possible by continuing the engagement. Our Chinese counterparts made clear their interest in continuing the present process and their firm belief that the obstacles can be overcome through more discussions and engagements.
5. As we had expressed an interest in looking at the situation of the different autonomous regions during our previous meetings, considering the time and the season, a trip was arranged this time to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. We found the visit useful.
We have reported to His Holiness the Dalai Lama today on our discussion along with Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche.
6. Our host for this visit was the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party. Many other authorities, including the government of Guangdong and Guangxi, particularly Guilin City, have been involved in organizing our visit. We wish to express our sincere appreciation to the officials at various levels for their hospitality and assistance.