Chinese leader may talk with Dalai Lama

March 19, 2008 9:24:45 AM PDT
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Wednesday that he is prepared to hold discussions on Tibet with the Dalai Lama, Brown said. Brown said he spoke with Wen to call for restraint after violent protests in the biggest challenge to Chinese rule in Tibet in almost two decades.

"I made it absolutely clear that there had to be an end to violence in Tibet," Brown told lawmakers in the House of Commons. "I also called for constraint, and I called for an end to the violence by dialogue between the different parties.

"The premier told me that, subject to two things that the Dalai Lama has already said - that he does not support the total independence of Tibet, and that he renounces violence - that he would be prepared to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Brown said.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wen's remarks to Brown did not describe any change in Chinese policy toward the Dalai Lama.

China says that it is willing to talk to the Dalai Lama once he renounces independence and recognizes that Tibet and Taiwan are part of China. The communist leadership says the Dalai Lama has not sufficiently shown that he has renounced independence, and officials have pointed to the latest violence in Lhasa as proof.

"The most important thing at the moment is to bring an end to the violence, reconciliation, and to see legitimate talks taking place between those people and China," Brown added.

Brown pledged to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to London in May.

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