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ASEAN welcomes talks between China and Dalai Lama's envoys
DPA[Wednesday, May 07, 2008 18:50]
Singapore, May 7 - Senior officials from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) welcomed the Chinese government's talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama and expressed confidence that the Beijing Olympics will be a success, ASEAN chairman Singapore said on Wednesday. The ASEAN countries were briefed on recent development in Tibet by the Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs during a senior officials meeting in the city-state.

"They welcomed the restoration of normalcy and the latest move of the Chinese government to have contact and consultation with the private representative of the Dalai Lama," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

A closed-door meeting was held on Sunday in southern China's city of Shenzhen, breaking a deadlock after riots in Tibet triggered international protests over Chinese rule of the territory and the government's handling of demonstrations that started in Lhasa on March 10.

"Linking the Tibetan issue with the Beijing Olympics will serve no purpose other than to politicize the games," the ministry said. Singapore is currently the ASEAN chairman, a position that is rotated each year.

"It is in the interest of the region that a long-term solution be found that addresses the concerns of the Tibetan people while respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement noted.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has called for autonomy rather than independence. China has been accusing his supporters of trying to sabotage Beijing's hosting of the Olympics. The Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile are based in Dharamsala in northern India.

"The ASEAN members also expressed confidence that the Beijing Olympics would be a success," the ministry said.

ASEAN includes Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
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