Special Envoy Lodi Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen

Special Envoy Lodi Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and their delegation meeting with Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and his delegation in Berne, Switzerland on 30 June 2005. (DIIR/CTA)

Dharamsala – Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and I, accompanied by three senior assistants, Sonam N. Dagpo, Ngapa Tsegyam, and Bhuchung K. Tsering, met with Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun and his six-member delegation on June 30 and July 1, 2005 at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Berne, Switzerland. This is the fourth round of meetings since the resumption of direct contact in 2002.

Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun is the deputy head of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party and also a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party.

The discussions were concrete and substantive, and held in a cordial, frank, and business-like atmosphere. Obviously, major differences on a number of issues, including on some fundamental ones, continue to remain. But the Berne round gave both sides yet another opportunity to extensively share with each other their views and perspectives on core issues.

We put forward some concrete proposals that will help build trust and confidence and move the ongoing process to a new level of engagement aimed at bringing about substantive negotiations to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue.

We reiterated our commitment to continue making every effort to create a better environment. At the same time we urged the Chinese side to join in this effort, and highlighted the absence of such obvious gestures from their side.

It was apparent that both sides had a positive assessment of the ongoing process. Despite the existing areas of disagreement, Vice Minister Zhu was pleased that our direct contact had now become stable and an “established practice.” He also conveyed to us that the Central leadership of the Chinese Communist Party attached great importance to the contact with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He stated that we need not be pessimistic about the existing differences and that it was possible to narrow down the gaps through more meetings and exchange of views. This shows the degree of trust and confidence that the present process has been able to build.

At the third round of meetings in Beijing last year we had discussed the increase in the number of meetings and to consider periodic meetings at any convenient place, including outside of China, and the inclusion of Mr. Ngapa Tsegyam as a member of our team.

We have reported to His Holiness the Dalai Lama today on our discussions. His Holiness is very pleased with the Berne round, which has provided another opportunity to further deepen the ongoing process.He was also pleased that we had the opportunity to address extensively the issues raised by the Chinese government and to clarify in detail our positions on fundamental issues. His Holiness instructed the Kalon Tripa and us to continue to push this process forward and pursue the issues discussed at the Berne round.

On our arrival in Dharamsala on July 5, 2005 we reported to Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche on the Berne round. We will also be briefing the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies and members of the Kashag.