LONDON – A senior Chinese official said in comments broadcast Friday that Beijing is open to further discussions with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama following talks earlier this month.
Zhu Weiqun claimed in remarks to the BBC that "China has done everything it can to talk to the Dalai Lama." He added that "the door is still open."
Weiqun made the comments just days before a special meeting called by the Dalai Lama to discuss how the Tibetan exile communities and political organizations in Dharmsala, India, will deal with China in the future. The five day meeting begins Monday.
China insists Tibet is part of its territory. Since 2002, Tibetan representatives and Chinese officials have held several rounds of talks on the disputed territory with little apparent progress.
Earlier this week Zhu, a vice minister of the United Front Work Department, blamed the Dalai Lama and his envoys for the failure of talks held Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. In an apparent hardening of Beijing's stance, he said the Tibetan spiritual leader's calls for greater autonomy masked his desire for the Himalayan region's independence.
The Dalai Lama has said he is not seeking independence, but meaningful automony that would protect the region's unique Buddhist culture.