Tibet's government in exile: Talks with China went off well
DPA[Monday, May 05, 2008 20:05]
New Delhi - Tibet's government in exile said Monday that it was pleased with the "informal" talks between Chinese officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama and that Beijing had committed to continue the dialogue. "We did not attach high expectations to the talks, and according to our expectations, the dialogue went off well," Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the government in exile, said via telephone from the north Indian hilltown of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and his government in exile are based.

Although the talks achieved no breakthrough, the discussions proceeded satisfactorily in a "good atmosphere" with both sides communicating their positions to each other, Rinpoche said.

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, envoys for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, held talks Sunday with Chinese officials in China's southern city of Shenzhen in what was the first meeting between the two sides in nearly a year.

They were held in the wake of anti-China protests, rioting and a Chinese crackdown in Tibetan areas since March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule.

The talks concluded after a few hours with China's state-run news agency Xinhua reporting that further meetings would be held without giving a time or place for the meetings.

Tibetan officials said the new round of talks showed Beijing's intent to continue the dialogue, which was a good sign.

"There is no alternative but to remain in dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet," said Thubten Samphel, spokesman of the Tibetan government in exile.

"Constant consultations are vital, both in the interest of China and the people of Tibet, and it is very good that China has agreed to another meeting," he said.

The Chinese government has engaged in six rounds of dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2002, but no progress has been reported. The previous round was held in June.

Sunday's talks came after international pressure on China to reopen dialogue after Beijing's crackdown, which has marred its preparations for the Olympics.

Violence in Lhasa, which involved rioting by Tibetans as well as a crackdown by security forces, resulted in 19 deaths, according to the Chinese government. The Tibetan government in exile said 203 people have been killed in the unrest in the Himalayan region, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.

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