Lodri Gyaltsen Gyari told Voice Of America’s Tibetan Service yesterday that His Holiness’ delegation does not have any direct contact with the Chinese authorities at present. He added, “Keeping contact with the Chinese authorities is not a hobby, but is necessary for the improvement of the problems of the six million Tibetan people. Keeping contact with the Chinese authorities is important and is not without results.
“Last year, the eighth round of China-Tibet talks was held, during which His Holiness’ delegation presented the Chinese authorities with a memorandum containing the Tibetan government’s suggestions for the improvement of Tibetan-Chinese relations. But the Chinese authorities did not consider it properly and said they could not agree to all the proposals. Therefore, the Tibetan government could not continue the talks with the Chinese authorities, and the Chinese were responsible for the failure of the talks. The Chinese authorities did not accept His Holiness´ suggestions and also opposed his opinions.”
A few months ago, His Holiness said it is important to contact the Chinese authorities again and start a ninth round of China-Tibet talks: “We are always ready to engage in China-Tibet talks and also hope the next round of talks will take place.”
Next month, United States President Barack Obama will visit China. Voice of America asked if His Holiness the Dalai Lama has any message to Obama concerning the Tibet-China talks. Lodri Gyaltsen Gyari answered that His Holiness’ message to the US President is the same as for anyone travelling to China - to request the Chinese authorities to continue China-Tibet talks. “The US government should send a clear signal on this issue. We cannot require him to talk about Tibet as the most important issue on his visit, but we ask him to talk about Tibet among other topics covered.”
“The Chinese government, and especially the Foreign Minister, are aware that on a visit to China the US Presidents´ agenda would possibly also contain Tibet issues.” He added that, “If we asked the Chinese authorities to contact the Tibetan government, their answer would be that, since 1979, they have contacted the Tibetan authorities around 25 times.”
Voice of America asked whether the improving relations between the US and China will benefit Tibetans. Lodri Gyaltsen Gyari replied that, “If the situation between countries anywhere in the world improves, the world will become a more peaceful place.”
After President Obama’s delegation’s visit to Dharamsala, His Holiness´ office declared that Chinese-US relations are very important. Lodri Gyaltsen Gyari said there is a mutual respect between His Holiness and President Obama: “President Obama respects His Holiness’ activities, and when Obama became President he promised improvements, hope and change, so we believe that he will keep his promises. So I think relations with China will improve. The reason why Obama and His Holiness did not meet this time was due to many different circumstances.”