New Delhi, September 6 - China has said that the Nathu La pass would be opened for trade in the middle of next year. The Chinese ambassador in India, Mr Sun Yuxi, said on Tuesday that experts from both sides would meet very soon to discuss issues like connecting roads and setting up facilities relating to customs, immigration and related areas.
Observing that "Tibet is no longer an issue" between India and China, Mr Sun said the Dalai Lama should give up his demand for greater autonomy as there was an autonomous government in Tibet, which was governing successfully for several decades.
He was speaking at a press conference called to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The Chinese ambassador said that doors for negotiations with the Dalai Lama were open, but made it clear that if the Tibetan spiritual leader really wanted to play a role in Tibet, he should recognise both Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China.
Asked about India setting up its consulate in Lhasa, Mr Sun said New Delhi had not applied for permission. He also hoped there would be more direct flights to Tibet. About the Tibet issue, he said, "If we (China and Tibetan leaders) are talking to each other and understand each other, it is progress."
On whether the Dalai Lama would be allowed to visit Tibet, he said he has to first recognise Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China. Asked about the prospects of joint military exercises involving India, China and Russia, Mr Sun noted that in some of these exercises, foreign observers have been invited.