Obama wants resumption of China-Dalai talks

US, China pledge support for improvement of Indo-Pak ties

Obama wants resumption of China-Dalai talks

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, following their joint statement at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Tuesday. AP

In a delicate balancing act, US President Barack Obama on Tuesday supported early resumption of talks between China and the Dalai Lama’s representatives while describing Tibet as part of this country.

Taking note of the sensitivities of China and the exiled Tibetan leader, Obama, who is here on a maiden visit as President, said: “We did note that while we recognise 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’s remarks came after his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao during which the two sides discussed a host of issues including India-Pakistan relations, Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, Afghanistan, terrorism and climate change.

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 the 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.
Both Obama and Hu pledged support for improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“The two sides welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia,” said a joint statement issued after a two-and-a-half hour-long closed-door meeting between the two leaders at the ornate Great Hall of the People here.
Iran’s N-programme

On Iran, where the US is looking for pressure from China on Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons’ programme, Obama took a tough line. He 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 United States President said he and Hu want climate change talks in Copenhagen next month to result in a global deal that has “immediate operational effect.”

“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 favoured early resumption of the six-party talks process. “We agreed on resuming the six-party talks process as soon as possible,” Obama said.

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