His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Senator John Kerry and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangey at the US Capitol on July 13, 2011. (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, December 25: The exile Tibetan administration welcomed the nomination of Senator John Kerry as the next United States Secretary of State, calling him a “long term friend” of Tibet.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, in a congratulatory note said Senator Kerry has a deep understanding of the Tibet issue and wished him much success in his new role.
“I hope he’ll build on the efforts of Secretary Hillary Clinton, elevate the Tibet issue and human rights as American foreign policy pivots to Asia, and fully implement the Tibetan Policy Act,” said Sikyong Sangay.
Born in 1943, Senator Kerry is a Vietnam War veteran and has served in the United States Senate for twenty-eight years, making him today the tenth most senior Senator. He has been the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2009 and met Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on numerous occasions.
In a release Monday, the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration said Senator Kerry has a long record of support for Tibet, and helped steer two Tibet resolutions in the Senate in 2012 including one in March where under his Chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate passed a resolution expressing support for the people of Tibet and calling on the Chinese government to end its repressive policies towards Tibetans.
The Secretary of State-designate has met with Sikyong Sangay twice, the most recent being in July 2012 in Washington, DC, during which the two discussed in detail the current crisis in Tibet.
“The Sikyong and CTA congratulates Senator John Kerry on a well-deserved nomination and looks forward to his continued support of Tibet and the Tibetan people in his new role as the next United States Secretary of State,” the release stated.
Announcing the nomination last week, President Barack Obama said Senator Kerry, over his long years of service, has “earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world.”
"I think it is fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry, and this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead."
The outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement calling the pick "excellent."
"John Kerry has been tested -- in war, in government, and in diplomacy. Time and again, he has proven his mettle," she said. "Senator Kerry has fought for our nation's diplomats and development experts -- and for investing in their mission and America's global leadership.”