November 17, 2009
Tibet: Obama Supports Resumption of Dialogue
Describing Tibet as part of China, US President Barack Obama today supported the early resumption of talks between Beijing and representatives of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
"We did note that while we recognise that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue" between the Dalai Lama's representatives and Beijing," Obama said after his meeting with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.
Chinese President Hu Jintao hailed US President Barack Obama's recognition of sovereignty issues dear to China.
"China approves of President Obama's repeated reiteration of the one-China principle," Hu told reporters.
Hu referred to China's "sovereignty over Taiwan and other matters" during a state visit in which some Western analysts had predicted that China would also demand an explicit declaration by Washington of China's sovereignty over the restive frontier regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.
Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei, capital of self-ruled Taiwan, to Beijing in 1979 but remains the island's main arms supplier.
Obama did not meet Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when he was in Washington in early October. But the Dalai Lama has said they may meet after Obama returns from China, which condemns the Buddhist monk as a separatist for demanding Tibetan self-determination.
China, which has governed Tibet since its troops occupied the territory in the 1950s, has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of the country.
The 74-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, has denied the allegations.
The last formal talks between the Dalai Lama's envoys and Chinese officials, the seventh since 2002, ended in an impasse in July last year, with China demanding that he prove that he did not support Tibetan independence.
Relations have been particularly tense this year after large scale riots in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, in which hundreds of shops were torched and Chinese civilians were attacked.