Dalai Lama envoys to leave for Beijing

The envoys of Dalai Lama would leave for Beijing to reopen the Sino-Tibetan dialogue that had been in limbo for the past seventeen months, reports Gaurav Bisht.

india Updated: Jun 28, 2007 22:22 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times

The envoys of Tibetan temporal leader Dalai Lama would leave for Beijing to reopen the Sino-Tibetan dialogue that had been in limbo for the past seventeen months since the fifth round of negotiations between the Chinese and Tibetan delegations that took place in China in February last year.

Desang Tsering, secretary at the private office of Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala on Thursday disclosed that special envoy Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari accompanied by envoys Kelsang Gyaltsen along with two senior assistants, Sonam Dagpo and Bhunchung K Tsering, both members, of the Tibetan task force would leave for China on Friday. Dalai Lama held a meeting with the members of the delegation at his residence and passed on instructions for the sixth round of negotiations. The delegation was also briefed by the Tibetan Prime Minister Professor Samdhong Rinpoche. Apart from holding talks with officials of the United front Department, the Tibetan delegations are also expected to meet some other Chinese leaders.

Though the Tibetan government in exile is maintaining strict confidentiality on the agenda assigned for the talks, highly placed sources revealed to Hindustan Times, that the negotiations would primarily focus on rebuilding the confines between the negotiators. Dr Nawang Rabgyal, Additional Secretary, DIIR when approached said "We cannot comment anything on the agenda. Things would be made clear after the delegations return from Beijing," he said. During the fifth round of talks that took place in Guilin city on February 15 in 2006, both sides made it clear that there was a major difference in addressing the issues.

The Tibetan delegation had then held a separate meeting with the Executive Vice Minister of the CPC's United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun, on 22 February 2006. The Chinese side had charged the Dalai Lama of propagating the 'splittist' activity and had asked the Tibetan delegation that Tibetan temporal leader should give up his 'struggle'. However, the members of the negotiating team, after returning back from the talks maintained that the Chinese counterpart had reassured their commitment to the dialogue process with their firm belief that the obstacles can be overcome through more discussions and engagements. Sources revealed that the delegation is likely to once again appraise the wish of Dalai Lama to undertake pilgrimage to the holy shrine in Wutaishan in China.

The resumption of the dialogue process, that faced uncertainty after Beijing sharpened its criticism on Dalai Lama last year has rekindled the hopes of the Tibetan leaders. "We are hopeful of resolving the Tibet issue through negotiations, but it may take time," Prime Minister Rinpoche told the Hindustan Times. "The Tibetan delegation would make every attempt to clear the misunderstanding and different conceptions. The envoys would also bridge gaps between negotiators," added Rinpoche.

The fragile Sino-Tibetan dialogue process that begun in 1979, after Gyalo Thondup, brother of Dalai Lama met the Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in China to convey the proposals of the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzing Gyatso for resolving the Tibet issue had faced many critical moments. Deng made it clear that barring, "independence China was ready to discuss all other issues". After that there were many rounds of talks between both China and Dalai Lama envoys. However, the dialogue process had come to a grinding halt in 1987 as both sides rejected the five point peace plan proposed for the negotiated settlement of Tibet. The dialogue process resumed in 2002. Since then the two sides have held five rounds of talks.

First Published: Jun 28, 2007 21:43 IST