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Dalai Lama must take concrete actions for further talks: China

By Raghavendra in Beijing
May 06, 2008 16:29 IST
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Refusing to set a date for the next round of parleys with the Dalai Lama's envoys, China on Tuesday said Sunday's meeting was only a "beginning" and insisted that the Tibetan leader should take "concrete actions" to create conditions for further talks.

In the first comments on the meeting between the two sides that lasted only a few hours, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, "The Central government's policy is consistent and clear cut. The door for dialogue is always open,"

"I want to stress that the current contact is only a beginning," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular bi-weekly media briefing.

At the meeting, the first since the unrest erupted in Tibet in March, Chinese officials talked about the riots in Lhasa and the Central government's policy towards the Dalai Lama and "we agreed to continue with the contact when appropriate," he said.

During the talks, officials had "clearly and comprehensively" expanded on China's position and "we believe that the Dalai's representatives have heard it very clearly," Qin said.

Describing the current contact as "sincere", Qin said, "so long as the Dalai side exerts sincerity especially in actions, then the contact will continue."

He hoped that the Tibetan leader "will mean his words and really stop separatist activities, stop provoking violent activities and stop disrupting the Beijing Olympics so as to create conditions for further contact."

Qin said Central government officials also answered questions by the Dalai Lama's representatives "with patience and they also exchanged views on their contact."

He said representatives of the Dalai Lama also explained their position and said they would report about the meeting tohim.

Asked why Shenzen, near Hong Kong, was chosen the venue for talks and not Beijing, Qin said, "We should focus more on content instead of format."

Chinese government representatives and Dalai Lama's envoys held the fence mending talks in the first such effort after the riots broke out to restart the stalled dialogue between the two sides.

This was the seventh round of talks between the two sides since 2002.

The dialogue was held amidst stepped up international pressure on China, particularly from the West, which also asked it to end the crackdown in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, living in exile in India, had earlier given indications that efforts were on through back channels for holding talks with Beijing, which has repeatedly been accusing him of having orchestrated the unrest.

Recent anti-government protests, the fiercest in the last two decades, have left 20 people dead and hundreds of others injured.

The 72-year old Nobel Laureate has denied the charge against him.

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Raghavendra in Beijing
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