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20may20092Tokyo: Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama's envoy, Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen, spoke during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Japan today. He said that Tibet is ready to resume peace talks with China. The speech addressed to foreign correspondents in the Japanese capital came more than seven months after negotiations were stalled between the two sides.

"Unfortunately, so far, there has been no signal from the government in Beijing that they are ready to resume the dialogue," Kelsang Gyaltsen, the Dalai Lama's envoy, told a news at the conference.

"So against this background, the position of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership in exile is that we remain ready to engage in serious discussions with the Chinese government ... we will intensify our approach in reaching out to the Chinese people."

Mr. Kelsang Gyaltsen stands on the front lines of Tibet's fight for autonomy. He has met with Chinese leaders eight times to convey the message of the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiess the Dalai Lama. "Tibet is asking for autonomy, not separation from China," he added.

"So that the Tibetan people are able to preserve their own culture, religion, language and identity in their homeland," Kelsang Gyaltsen continued.

The process hit a major hurdle last year after demonstrations commemorating the 49th anniversary of Tibet's failed uprising against Chinese rule were marked with violence. Chinese authorities quickly cracked down upon the peaceful protests in all parts of Tibet.

But the two sides resumed talks last October. Kelsang Gyaltsen says that Tibetan leaders laid out a detailed road map for self-government, and that the outline conformed to principles of autonomy written in the Chinese constitution.

"The right to original, national autonomy is guaranteed in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China," Kelsang Gyaltsen said. "It is for minorities such as the Tibetan people."

He says the Chinese government rejected the proposal without offering an alternative solution.

The talks have been postponed indefinitely, but Kelsang Gyaltsen says that exiled Tibetan leaders are organizing meetings between Chinese and Tibetan groups, engaging the two sides on a more human level. They also are publishing fliers and books in Mandarin so that Chinese people can develop a better understanding of Tibetan culture.

The Chinese government has augmented its foreign policy to include the enactment of pressure upon activists and alleged “separatists,” despite the fact that His Holiness seeks only a great autonomy for Tibet within China. “We are not ‘separatists.’ The whole world knows we are not seeking independence,” he assured the EU Parliament last year. China canceled its high-level summit with the European Union following French president Sarkozy’s meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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