DHARAMSALA, Sep 28: President Barack Obama has urged Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on his first state visit the US, to engage in dialogue with the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve the issue of Tibet at a joint press conference held at the White House Rose Garden on Sep 25.
“Even as we recognize Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, we continue to encourage the Chinese authorities to preserve the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people and to engage with the Dalai Lama or his representatives,” Obama said in his address.
While affirming US government’s unwavering support for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, Obama said crackdown on journalists, lawyers, NGOs and civil society, or denying ethnic minorities equal treatment actually prevent China and its people from realizing its full potential.
“We had a frank discussion about human rights, as we have in the past. And I again affirmed America’s unwavering support for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, including freedom of assembly and expression, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. And I expressed in candid terms our strong view that preventing journalists, lawyers, NGOs and civil society groups from operating freely, or closing churches and denying ethnic minorities equal treatment are all problematic, in our view, and actually prevent China and its people from realizing its full potential,” Obama said.
While stating that other issues such as Cyber threats, Chinese action in South China Sea, devaluing of Chinese currency and denuclearization of Korean peninsula were also discussed with his Chinese counterpart, Obama declared his talks with Xi “extremely productive overall.”
Responding to Obama’s remarks, Xi in his address said, “Countries have different historical processes and realities. We need to respect people of all countries rights to choose their own development path independently.”
Outside the White House, protesters carrying banners and placards chanted slogans calling for an end to China’s repressive rule in Tibet.
Remarks by the two leaders followed meetings and preceded an official state dinner with the list of guests seated at the head table including: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Xi, Madame Peng, Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson, Bob Iger, Willow Bay, David Rubenstein, Alice Rubenstein, Satya Nadella, Anupama Nadella, Lynne Benioff, Marc Benioff, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Andy Spahn, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.