China warns Donald Trump not to push it for talks with Dalai Lama

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Beijing | February 4, 2017 6:40 PM

Warning Trump administration of "endless trouble and burden" if it uses the Dalai Lama against it, China today sharply criticised the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his "amateurish" suggestion that he would encourage talks between Beijing and Dharmsala-based Tibetan government in exile.

(Reuters)Tillerson’s remarks shows he is a “complete amateur” on Tibet-related questions, he said. (Reuters)

Warning Trump administration of  “endless trouble and burden” if it uses the Dalai Lama against it, China today sharply criticised the new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his “amateurish” suggestion that he would encourage talks between Beijing and Dharmsala-based Tibetan government in exile.

The US should stop using Dalai Lama to create trouble for China, as it brings no benefit to the US but damages Sino-US relations, Zhu Weiqun, head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said.

“The US government had used the Dalai Lama to create problems for China’s unity and stability, which has brought no benefit to Washington while it caused damage to Sino-US relations,” he said apparently referring to former US Presidents including Barack Obama’s meetings with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

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Reacting to Tillerson’s reported remarks that he will continue to encourage dialogue between Beijing and Dharmsala- based “Tibetan government-in-exile,” Zhu told state-run Global Times that it’s impossible for the Chinese government to “have a dialogue” with the illegal group that is aiming to split China.

Tillerson’s remarks shows he is a “complete amateur” on Tibet-related questions, he said.

The US Secretary of State in a response to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said he will continue to encourage dialogue between Beijing and representatives of “Tibetan government-in-exile,” the daily report quoted thetibetpost.com as saying.

Tillerson also gave an affirmative answer to whether he would commit to receiving and meeting with the Dalai Lama, it said.

Taking exception to Tillerson’s comments, Zhu said the one and only sensible thing the ‘government-in-exile’ can do is to “dissolve itself”.

China in the past had held talks with the Dalai Lama representatives to discuss his return to Tibet but the talks were discontinued for several years.

Beijing has made no move for dialogues with him after Chinese President Xi Jinping took over power in 2013.

Zhu said China will not change its policy to support the development of the Tibetan society, nor will the country stop protecting its sovereignty over the region.

“The new US government should carefully study the policy and that its attention to the Tibet question will only bring endless trouble and burden for the US,” he said.

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