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14september20092US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday named a new special coordinator for Tibet issues who will coordinate the US government's policies, programs and projects on Tibetan issues and promote dialogue between China and representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The appointment of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues is mandated by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and is an indication of the United States' commitment to a negotiated resolution on Tibet that preserves the distinct religious, cultural and linguistic heritage of the Tibetan people.

The announcement came on the same day as China celebrated 60 years of communist rule and before the November visit of the US President Barack Obama to China. Obama is also scheduled to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama soon after his trip to China in mid-November.

Clinton announced that Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will also serve as special coordinator for Tibetan issues for President Barack Obama's administration, the State Department said.

"Otero will coordinate the US government's policies, programs and projects on Tibetan issues within the context of our bilateral relationship with the People's Republic of China," it said in a statement. "She will seek to foster an environment to promote substantive discussion between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government, as well as support initiatives to help safeguard Tibet's unique culture," it added.

In the previous administration of president George W. Bush, the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobrianksy, also served concurrently as special coordinator for Tibet.

China said last month it "firmly opposed" any meetings between foreign officials and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, after top Obama aides met the Tibetan spiritual leader in India.

Beijing also issued a veiled warning to the White House against an eventual meeting between US president Barack Obama and Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, seen by China as a "splittist" seeking independence for Tibet despite his calls for genuine autonomy for whole Tibet. Aides to His Holiness the Dalai Lama then said the spiritual leader would not meet Obama on a planned visit to Washington in October.

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