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Tibet, China talks postponed after quake - Dalai aide

DHARAMSALA (Reuters) - Talks between Tibetan envoys and Chinese officials set for June 11 have been postponed due to last month’s earthquake, an aide to the Dalai Lama said on Friday, adding he hoped the two sides would meet this month.

Talks in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in early May were the first since an anti-Beijing riot in Lhasa and widespread unrest in Tibet and nearby areas, and ended with an agreement to hold a further meeting with June 11 set as a tentative date.

But Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, said the talks had been put off because of last month’s earthquake in China’s Sichuan province that killed more than 69,000 people.

“We are trying to work on a new set of dates, the earlier date was June 11, but that has been postponed right now,” Taklha said.

“Because of the situation in China in regard to the earthquake, because of that, we had to postpone the date. But hopefully it will be sometime at the end of June,” he said.

China has repeatedly said the “Dalai Lama clique” was responsible for the disturbances in Tibet and protests that subsequently dogged the Olympic torch relay worldwide.

During the May talks, the team of two Tibetan envoys had argued that events in Tibet were “a clear symptom of deeply felt grievances and resentment of the Tibetans” towards Chinese government policies going back decades.

The Chinese state-run media on the other hand accused the Tibetan spiritual leader of trying to blacken China’s name and prevent its rise, days after the two sides met.

At the talks, each side exchanged “concrete” proposals that could be part of a future agenda, Lodi Gyari, one of the two Tibetan envoys talking to their Chinese counterparts, had said.

“We wish to have it (talks) as early as possible and as frequently as possible,” Thubten Samphel, a Tibetan government official, said late on Thursday.

“Frequent and early meetings will dissipate all the mutual suspicion and will increase confidence and based on that we could resolve the issue.”