President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao will reportedly meet on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C. on April 12 and 13. Their meeting would be the first since the U.S. President met the Dalai Lama at the White House on February 18 during which “the President commended the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government,” according to the official White House statement. Direct discussions on Tibet between President Obama and President Hu began a year ago, continued at the US-China summit in Beijing in November 2009, and occurred as recently as April 2 when President Hu raised Tibet in a phone conversation.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “A meeting between world leaders on the development of a more peaceful world is an appropriate backdrop for President Obama and President Hu to continue a determined discussion on achieving a negotiated solution for Tibet.”

In spite of heated rhetoric from the Chinese government in advance of President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, Chinese officials met in a 9th round of dialogue with the envoys of the Dalai Lama in January 30-31 in Beijing.

“President Hu’s visit to Washington suggests an interest in pursuing a positive U.S.-Chinese relationship, even as no one is stepping away from the table on Tibet,” Markey concluded.