Second round of China-Tibet talks planned

Monday, May 5, 2008

Chinese officials and envoys of the Dalai Lama have agreed to a second round of talks, China's state-run news agency said in an apparent sign of progress in easing tensions raised by violent anti-government riots in Tibet.

Xinhua also said, however, that the Chinese officials told the Dalai Lama's envoys at their first meeting Sunday that the protests had spawned new obstacles to communication.

Xinhua said the first meeting took place "at the repeated requests made by the Dalai side."

International critics have accused China of heavy-handed tactics in quelling the anti-government riots and protests in Tibet and Tibetan areas of western China. Some experts believe Beijing agreed to meet with the envoys to defuse that criticism ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.

The Xinhua report late Sunday said that Chinese officials had answered questions raised by the Dalai Lama's envoys at the meeting in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

"The two sides agreed another round of contact would be held at an appropriate time," Xinhua said, citing the unidentified sources.

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