By Yungdung Tsomo
DHARAMSALA, 15 June: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) has landed at the Auckland International Airport on his maiden visit to New Zealand on Wednesday. He was welcomed by Representative Karma Singey from the Office Of Tibet Canberra, Tibet Information Office-Canberra President Wangdue Tsering and executive members of the New Zealand Tibetan Association along with members of the Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Association and Tibetans on the island.
The itinerary of the political head of the Tibetan people’s three-day visit to New Zealand includes meeting and addressing the Tibetan community and Tibet Support Groups and the lawmakers of New Zealand.
According to a post on the CTA’s official Instagram handle, President Penpa Tsering has begun his official visit to the Pacific island with an interview with Radio New Zealand, the island’s public broadcaster on Thursday.
This was followed by an interview with the New Zealand Herald, a daily newspaper with the biggest circulation in the country. During the interview, the CTA president has said that “he wants New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to raise the issue of Tibet during’ visit to China.
“We are committed to the middle-way policy as proposed by his holiness the Dalai Lama, and if China has common sense and New Zealand as a friend should advise that Tibetans are not seeking independence but autonomy,” the New Zealand Herald quoted the CTA President as saying in its report.
“That is for the betterment of China, as well as the international community.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Monday that he will visit China at the end of June.
President Tsering also met and addressed the Tibetan community in and around Auckland city at the Pulping Buddhist Centre on Thursday.
He left Dharamsala, the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people on Tuesday for his official visit to New Zealand and Australia from 13 – 25 June 2023.
Last week, officials from the Chinese embassy in Canberra unsuccessfully lobbied against Tsering’s scheduled appearance at the National Press Club of Australia.
President Tsering is scheduled to address the press club on 20 June. His predecessor, Lobsang Sangay, appeared at the press club in August 2017.
His engagements in Australia will also see him meet with the Australian MPs, Tibet support groups and Tibetan communities in Australia.