Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who makes his first state visit to the United States in the first half of December, has told the Washington Post, “The door to communication between the central government and the Dalai Lama is wide open.” Wen, however, reiterated preconditions to “resume” discussions.

The Chinese Premier talked on Tibet during an exclusive interview to the Washington Post, published on November 23, 2003. Wen is expected to visit Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. Tibet groups are planning to organize demonstrations during Wen Jiabao’s visit to highlight the situation in Tibet and to call for early solution.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama, who is on a visit to Kolkata in eastern India, is quoted by UNI as reiterating his commitment to his Middle Way Approach. The UNI report of November 23, 2003 quoted the Dalai Lama as saying, “Last September, we renewed direct contact with the Chinese government which was a good start. However, for the past one year there are no signs of improvement in conditions inside Tibet,” he added apparently referring to the human rights violation there.

The report said, “The Tibetan spiritual leader reiterated that he was committed to pursuing the “middle path approach” for solving the Tibetan question and for which direct contact between his government – in – exile and the Chinese government was essential.”

Following is the text of the question and answer on Tibet.

Question: Another subject in discussions between the United States and China on occasion is Tibet. The Dalai Lama has declared that he is not seeking independence for Tibet. And I believe former President Jiang Zemin had said on one occasion that he was willing to meet with the Dalai Lama to discuss the situation. Do you foresee face-to-face meetings with the Dalai Lama and representatives of China?

Answer: Regrettably, the Dalai Lama has not genuinely given up his position of Tibet independence and has not given up the separatist activities aimed at splitting the motherland. He also has not recognized that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

We have taken note of the recent remarks by the Dalai Lama but we still need to watch very carefully what he really does. So long as he genuinely abandons his position on seeking Tibetan independence and publicly recognizes that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of Chinese territory, then contacts between him and the central government can resume and we can resume the discussions with him. The door to communication between the central government and the Dalai Lama is wide open.