We are always ready for dialogue with China: Sikyong Sangay

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during a press briefing at his office in Dharamshala, India, on 18 July 2016.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay speaks during a press briefing at his office in Dharamshala, India, on 18 July 2016. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 19 July 2016

Sikyong (Prime Minister) Lobsang Sangay met the press after a two-day meeting of the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Negotiations, which was held in Dharamshala on 15 and 16 July.

Although Sangay was unable to have any dialogue with the Chinese leadership in his first five-year term as Sikyong, he emphasised that the Tibetan leadership is still committed to dialogue with China, with the “Middle Way” approach as the only way to achieve a meaningful resolution to the Tibetan issue.

He explained that although discussions were resumed in 2001, until 2010 nine rounds of talks had taken place with no headway at all.

The last visit of the two Tibetan envoys to China was in January of 2010. From January 2010 to June of 2012 the two envoys were not allowed to visit China and meet with their counterparts. Because the situation was deteriorating, “and with the increasing number of self-immolations,” the envoys resigned.

Sangay says that the envoys of the Dalai Lama are ready to meet with their Chinese counterparts any where and any time. “It’s up to the Chinese government to extend their hands so we can clap together. Our hands are always extended.”

Noting a global “decline of internationalism and liberalism, and a rise of nationalism and extremism”, Sangay placed importance on His Holiness messages of universal responsibility, peace, and non-violence, especially in regard to dialogue with China.

Regarding the lack of mention of self-immolations in the press statement for the current task force, Sangay noted “the situation continues to be grim. But we had not highlighted it this time, because we have not had self-immolations [lately].” He affirmed CTAs concern for self-immolators and solidarity with them and their families.

This was the 28th meeting of the Task Force, and the first meeting since the new Kashag. The Task Force meets once a year, and Sangay said that he may occasionally call a smaller meeting, which is not made public.

The purpose of the ask Force is to gather information, and discuss world events as they relate to human rights, the environment, and the Tibetan issue. The meeting works on future plans for negotiation with China.

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