By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 17: The Sikyong Penpa Tsering led Kashag (Cabinet) has dissolved the ‘Task Force on Sino-Tibet Dialogue’, an exclusive round table of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) that deliberates on negotiations with Beijing. A circular dated August 13 from the Kashag stated that the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan negotiation is dissolved with immediate effect and a strategic planning committee is set in its place.
According to sources, four members of the newly formed committee have been appointed; Karma Rinchen, the Secretary of Department of Security, Karma Choeying, Secretary of International Relations, Dawa Tsering, Director of Tibet Policy Institute and Tashi Gyatso, Secretary at Kashag Secretariat.
In addition, three advisors have also been appointed; former ministers Dongchung Ngodup and Tenpa Tsering and former envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyaltsen. The members and advisors will work with the Sikyong and report to him on developments primarily on negotiations with Beijing as well as on matters regarding the geopolitical climate of Beijing.
The task force on Sino-Tibet dialogue was formed in 1999 to gauge and devise strategies to bring Beijing on the discussion table to resolve the Tibetan issue. So far the task force has been convened 32 times with the last one held in December 2019 during the tenure of the former Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
Despite nine rounds of talks between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and representatives of Beijing since 2002, China has rejected Middle Way Approach, the official stance of the exile Tibetan government, that seeks genuine autonomy under the frame work of Chinese constitution.
In a recent interview with The Week on May 2, 2021, President Penpa Tsering said, “A key priority is the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict. Keeping in mind the international situation and the political dynamics, we will have to study the issue more closely and come out with the right strategy. We also have to make good use of all the opportunities that come our way”.
“There has been no forward movement since 2010. My aim is to make some progress in resuming the dialogue. China does not recognise the CTA. The talks have always been held between China and the representative of the Dalai Lama,” he further said.