Trump Administration seen wanting on Tibet talks push

U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo courtesy: The Rahnuma Daily)

(, Jun20’19) – The Trump Administration remains the only one thus far which has not appointed a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues as mandated by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and it has made little efforts to encourage dialogue and establish conditions for the settlement of the Tibet issue as also mandated by the Act as it submitted its second report to the US Congress at the end of May.

The Tibet Negotiations Report the State Department submitted to Congress was to detail steps taken by the Trump Administration in 2018-19 to encourage the Chinese government to take part in dialogue on Tibet’s future with envoys of the Dalai Lama. The Act requires the president and secretary of state to push for such negotiations.

The report, the second by the Trump Administration, did raise concerns about the lack of autonomy, ongoing human rights violations and destruction of religious, linguistic and cultural heritage in Tibet, noted Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Jun 19. “The United States believes the Chinese government must address these concerns to create conditions for a sustainable settlement, which is essential to the long-term stability of the region,” the report was quoted as saying.

The ICT points out, however, that in the section on “Steps Taken by Senior US Officials to Encourage Dialogue and Establish Conditions for a Sustainable Settlement,” there was only one reference to Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback having called on Chinese authorities to resume formal dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

ICT notes that there had been at least four summit meetings between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, while former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his successor Mike Pompeo had also met their Chinese counterparts several times.

ICT points out, however, that there has been no confirmation that dialogue on Tibet was raised during those meetings. The report only highlights remarks that Vice President Pence and Pompeo had made about the human rights of Tibetans, it said.

“While engaging and confronting the Chinese government on many fronts, the Trump Administration has not yet raised at senior levels the issue of Tibet and the need to find a political solution through dialogue with the Dalai Lama,” ICT President Matteo Mecacci said.

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 requires the appointment of a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, whose “central objective…is to promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”


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