Tibet: Cautious Welcome To China Talks
Tibet's government in exile is expressing cautious optimism about the Chinese premier's statement on his willingness for further contacts with the Dalai Lama's envoys.
The statement by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is being welcomed in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala in northern India, the home of the Tibetan government in exile.
The Kalon Tripa, Samdhong Rinpoche, the political head of the exile Central Tibetan Administration, has issued a statement responding to Mr. Wen's willingness to continue contacts and consultations with the Dalai Lama's envoys.
Administration spokesman Thubten Samphel tells VOA News the Tibetan spiritual leader remains ready to hold such discussions with the Chinese.
"On the other hand we feel these contacts need to lead to substantial results, in terms of resolving the issue of Tibet," Samphel said.
The Chinese premier, at a (Friday [13, 2009]) news conference, said such talks could be held if the Dalai Lama renounces separatism.
Tibetan spokesman Samphel says the Chinese government is aware of the position declared by the Dalai Lama during the eighth round of Sino-Tibetan talks last year  that his hopes for "genuine autonomy" lie strictly within the principles of the Chinese constitution.
"We are not seeking Tibet's separation from the mainland. So instead of hurling these accusations it is time for the Chinese leaders to look into the problems in Tibet," Samphel said. "People are very, very unhappy in Tibet so the Chinese government must address problems in Tibet and to meet the aspirations of the people in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since 1959, after fleeing Tibet during a failed armed uprising.
China this month [March 2009] poured troops into Tibet to prevent protests marking the 50th anniversary of that uprising.
Chinese forces and Tibetans violently clashed last year  amid demonstrations in Tibet. Pro-Tibetan rights organizations contend hundreds of Tibetans were killed or remain missing as a result of the 2008 crackdown.
China blames the Dalai Lama for instigating the protests as part of efforts to split Tibet from China. But the Buddhist leader denies the charge and says he only wants meaningful autonomy for Tibet inside the borders of China.
Beijing insists Tibet has been an integral part of China for centuries.