In the third annual report to Congress on the status of Tibet negotiations, the Bush Administration has reaffirmed 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 April 12, 2005, the Tibet negotiations report, which is mandated by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, was transmitted from the Secretary of State to the 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.

As in past years, the report outlines the efforts of Administration officials on Tibet during their interactions with Chinese leaders. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-Secretary of State Powell, Secretary Rice and other senior administration officials reportedly raised the issues of negotiations with the Dalai Lama and preservation of Tibetan culture in numerous encounters with senior Chinese officials. Of particular note in the 2005 report are the following:

  • An encounter between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao during the November 2004 meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Santiago, Chile, during which President Bush urged President Hu to make progress on dialogue with the Tibetans;
  • Vice President Cheney explicitly raised US support for the dialogue during his April 2004 trip to China;
  • Secretary Rice raised the importance of dialogue during her first trip to China as Secretary of State in March 2005, and publicly announced that the Sino-Tibet dialogue had been a part of her discussions with Chinese officials (the first time a senior Bush Administration official had done so in a post-visit press statement); and
  • The report disclosed that then-Deputy Secretary Armitage specifically asked the Chinese to speed up progress on the dialogue during a January 2004 trip to China (this information was not provided in the 2004 report that initially covered this time period).
  • The role of Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, who has served as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues since her appointment by President Bush in 2001, is also highlighted in the report. Her activism in pressing not only the Chinese to move forward on dialogue, but also her extensive coordination with the Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari, and her efforts to press Europe to take a more active role in pressing for dialogue are given extensive discussion.

The Executive Summary of the report refers to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as “a constructive partner as China deals with the difficult challenges of regional and national stability.” The report goes on to state that engagement with the Dalai Lama is in the interest of the Chinese government, and that failure to resolve problems in Tibet will be “a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States…”

“With this third annual report, the US continues to demonstrate a deep and sustained commitment to promoting dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities,” said Kelley Currie, Director of Government Relations for ICT. “These reports serve as a valuable resource for the Congress and the American people, who are looking for depth and intensity in official US efforts to promote dialogue.”

You can find a PDF copy of the report here.