In the first-ever presidential report to Congress on the status of Tibet negotiations, President Bush has affirmed that encouraging substantive dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership is a key objective of his administration’s policy and that lack of resolution of the Tibetan problem will be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement between the United States and China.
On May 8, 2003, the Tibet negotiations report, which is mandated by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, was transmitted from the White House to the Secretary of State and Congress. In the report, the Bush Administration details the steps it has taken to encourage the People’s Republic of China to enter into substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives with the goal of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.
The report outlines the efforts of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell on Tibet during their interactions with Chinese leaders as well as supporting efforts by other administration officials including: Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (serving concurrently as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues); Lorne Craner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; James Kelly, Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs; and Clark Randt, the U.S. Ambassador to China.
“This report demonstrates the combined commitment of the entire United States government, including the White House, State Department and the Congress, to advance the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach,” said Mary Beth Markey, U.S. Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).
“Reading the report, it is clear that the Bush Administration has conveyed to Beijing its strong interest in the Tibet issue and is looking for genuine and sustained progress,” said Markey. “ICT is particularly grateful to the Congress for its continued advocacy for Tibet, which led to the creation of this report.”
President Bush declared his “strong support for the Dalai Lama’s tireless efforts to initiate dialogue with the Chinese government” after meeting with the Dalai Lama in May 2001, and, according to the White House report, Tibet was on the agenda of every 2002 meeting between Presidents Bush and Jiang and during then-Vice President Hu Jintao’s May 2002 U.S. visit. Additionally, in Secretary Powell’s meetings with Foreign Minister Tang and President Hu, Powell consistently urged the Chinese officials to engage in a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
From September 9 to 24, 2002, envoys of the Dalai Lama led by Lodi Gyari visited Beijing, Shanghai and Lhasa and met with Chinese leaders, renewing face-to-face contact between the two sides after an impasse of nine years.
On September 30, 2002, the Tibetan Policy Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush as part of The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2002-2003. It is the most comprehensive Tibet legislation yet to be passed by Congress, combining programmatic initiatives with a firm expression of political support for the Dalai Lama’s efforts to find a negotiated solution for Tibet.