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U.S. May Delay Tibet Post Until Jia
- Subject: U.S. May Delay Tibet Post Until Jia
- From: BurmaJapan@xxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:15:00
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
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
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
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.