Obama asks China to resume talks with Dalai Lama

Obama asks China to resume talks with Dalai Lama

Beijing: Describing Tibet as part of China, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday supported the early resumption of talks between Beijing and representatives of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

“We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China, the US supports the early resumption of dialogue" between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and Beijing, Obama said after his meeting with Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao here.

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.

Obama, who is here on his maiden state visit to the Communist nation, warned Iran that it faced “consequences" if it failed to show greater openness on its nuclear programme.

“Iran has an opportunity to present and demonstrate its peaceful intentions but if it fails to take this opportunity, there will be consequences," he said.

The US President said he and Hu want climate change talks in Copenhagen next month to result in a global deal that has “immediate operational effect."

We “agreed to work toward a successful outcome in Copenhagen," Obama told reporters.

“Our aim there is... not a partial accord or a political declaration, but rather an accord that covers all the issues in the negotiations and one that has immediate operational effect," he said.

On North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, Obama said the six-party talks process should resume “as soon as possible".

“We agreed on resuming the six-party talks process as soon as possible," Obama said.

On his part, Hu said that both sides were “committed to dialogue and consultation in resolving the Korean peninsula nuclear issue."

Hu said that the two countries “will continue to have consultations on an equal footing to properly resolve economic and trade frictions."