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U.S. May Delay Tibet Post Until Jia

U.S. May Delay Tibet Post Until Jiang
                                 06:54 a.m. Oct 23, 1997 Eastern 

                                 By Jim Wolf 

                                 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Clinton
administration still plans to name a ``special coordinator''
                                 for policy on Tibet but may delay until
Chinese President Jiang Zemin ends a visit here next week,
                                 the State Department said Wednesday. 

                                 China, which put down a popular
uprising in the Himalayan land of Tibet in 1959, has denounced
                                 the planned appointment as meddling in
its domestic affairs. 

                                 Nevertheless, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright tentatively intended to create and fill the new
                                 State Department job by her
self-imposed deadline of Nov. 1, James Rubin, the department
                                 spokesman, told reporters. 

                                 But he left open the possibility that
the administration might miss that deadline, perhaps by just a
                                 day or two, to avoid souring Jiang's
U.S. tour, the first by a Chinese chief of state in 12 years. 

                                 ``Secretary Albright does intend to
follow through on her commitment and name a special
                                 coordinator on Tibet by the stated
timeframe,'' Rubin said at his daily briefing. 

                                 Pressed on whether Albright might delay
the announcement by a matter of days to avoid ruffled
                                 feathers, Rubin replied: ``I'm not
going to rule out for all time that it won't be at 12:01 on November
                                 2nd, or November 1st, but her intention
is to meet the commitment.'' 

                                 Jiang, who arrives in Hawaii on Sunday
on the first stop of his seven-day visit, is scheduled to meet
                                 Clinton at the White House on Oct. 29
before continuing on to Philadelphia, New York, Boston and
                                 Los Angeles. He flies home from
California Nov. 2. 

                                 Both U.S. and Chinese officials hope
Jiang's visit will end the eight years of frostiness that have
                                 followed China's suppression of the
Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. 

                                 Referring to the 12-year gap since the
last visit by a Chinese chief of state, Jeff Bader, director of
                                 Asian affairs at the National Security
Council, said this was an ``unnatural state of affairs for two
                                 great nations.'' 

                                 In a briefing for reporters, he said
the Clinton administration looked on the visit as a ``first step'' in a
                                 long-term process of improving ties. He
declined to discuss whether the administration was mulling
                                 putting off the appointment until after
Jiang left the country. 

                                 Rubin said the administration still had
not settled on its choice to fill the new job ``and you need to
                                 figure out who the person is before you
can figure when you'll announce it.'' 

                                 Albright has been discussing the
appointment with Samuel Berger, President Clinton's national
                                 security adviser, among others, Rubin

                                 Earlier in the day, a Chinese embassy
spokesman told reporters at a briefing on Jiang's visit that
                                 Beijing had made ''representations'' to
the United States to protest the creation of the new State
                                 Department slot. 

                                 Describing Tibet as part of Chinese
territory since the 13th century, Yu Shuning, an embassy
                                 counselor, said the appointment
constituted ``interference in our internal affairs.'' 

                                 Albright has said a ``central
objective'' of the new job would be to promote substantive dialogue
                                 between the Chinese government and the
Dalai Lama or his representatives. 

                                 The Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace-prize
winning Buddhist monk, fled his Himalayan homeland after
                                 the failed 1959 anti-Chinese uprising.
He heads a government in exile in India and has been
                                 seeking greater autonomy for Tibet. 

                                 At a meeting with the Dalai Lama in
Washington in April, Clinton promised he would press Jiang at
                                 the summit to negotiate with the Dalai
Lama on resolving their differences. 

                                 The new ``special coordinator'' will
also ``vigorously promote the U.S. policy of seeking to protect
                                 the unique religious, cultural and
linguistic heritage of Tibet, and pressing for improved respect for
                                 human rights,'' Albright said in a July
29 letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
                                 Jesse Helms. 

                                 In a reminder to Albright sent Oct. 6,
Helms, a North Carolina Republican, said he believed and
                                 hoped that the appointment of a
high-level official to the new job would ''change the course of
                                 Tibet's tragic history.'' 

                                 Advocates of greater Tibetan self-rule
have been pressing the administration to fill the new job in
                                 time to play a role at the summit. 

                                 ``This person needs to be part of
whatever discussions take place on Tibet at the summit and
                                 surrounding the summit,'' said John
Ackerly of the International Campaign for Tibet, a lobbying
                                 group in Washington with ties to the
Dalai Lama's government in exile.