(TibetanReview.net, Nov14, 2014) – US President Barack Obama has assured Chinese President Xi Jinping during their Nov 12 meeting in Beijing that his government did not support the “independence” of Taiwan and Tibet, or the ongoing democracy movement in Hong Kong as alleged by China and its official media.
The US acknowledges Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China and does not back “Tibet independence,” reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 12. According to laht.com Nov 12, President Obama, at the same time, urged the Chinese authorities to “take steps to preserve the unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity” of Tibetan people. He was reported to have added that nations that protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities are the most prosperous and successful societies, and are also most capable of complying with rights of the people.
He was also reported to have reassured Xi that there was no change in the US stance on Taiwan, that it does not support “Taiwan independence,” but, rather, favours the improvement of cross-Strait relations.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at the end of their two days of meeting, President Xi described the ongoing Occupy Central in Hong Kong, now on its 41st day, as an illegal movement and that foreign countries should not interfere. Obama responded by insisting that the United States had played no role in Hong Kong’s pro- democracy protests despite Chinese accusations that foreign forces were involved. “These are issues ultimately for the people of Hong Kong and China to decide,” he said, adding Washington had no desire to involve itself in the dispute between the authorities and activists over the selection process for candidates of Hong Kong’s leadership elections, according to independent.co.uk Nov 12.
“But I did describe for him that the United States – as a matter of foreign policy, but also a matter of our values – is going to consistently speak out on the right of people to express themselves and encourage that the elections that take place in Hong Kong are transparent and fair, and reflective of the opinions of people there,” thestandard.com.hk Nov 13 further quoted Obama as saying.
Xi had earlier said that Occupy Central was a direct challenge to Beijing, not just to Hong Kong.
Obama has been criticized for not including the issue of denial of visa for US journalists for their critical reporting on Chinese leaders and their families in the 10-year term visa for travellers between the two countries in a deal that the two leaders signed. Visa restrictions have plagued reporters at the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Reuters. China even denied a transit visa for such journalist in one instance, according to a chinadigitaltimes.net report Nov 12.
Obama had arrived in Beijing on Nov 10 to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and pay a state visit to China at Xi’s invitation.