US calls for dialogue between China and Dalai Lama
A top US official on Monday reiterated a US appeal for dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama saying it was "the only viable way forward" to resolve the issue of Tibet.
Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky was scheduled to meet later in the day with the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has been travelling in the western United States this month.
"President Bush has repeatedly expressed his own steadfast support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China's leadership," Dobriansky wrote in The Washington Post. "Meaningful dialogue presents the only viable way forward."
Protests directed against Chinese rule rocked the Himalayan region last month, with exiled Tibetan leaders saying more than 150 people had died in a subsequent government crackdown. China says Tibetan "rioters" killed 18 civilians and two policemen.
Dobriansky said the best way for China's leaders to address Tibetan concerns is to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama, who embraces autonomy for Tibet within China and rejects independence.
"The Dalai Lama is the only person with the influence and credibility to persuade Tibetans to eschew violence and accept a genuine autonomy within China that would also preserve Tibetan culture and identity," she pointed out.
The undersecretary of state also demanded that China cease repressive measures directed at Tibetans seeking to practice their religion, preserve their cultural identity and release those detained for peacefully expressing their views.
"Although the Chinese government recently arranged official trips to Lhasa for journalists and diplomats, we continue to call for unfettered access for all media and foreign diplomats into Tibetan areas," Dobriansky wrote.