DHARAMSHALA, September 25: The United States President Barack Obama said his government encourages China to engage in dialogue with the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and to preserve the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people.
Speaking at a joint press conference held at the White House on Friday, Obama said, "Even as we recognize Tibet as 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 representative."
President Obama said that the Chinese government's resistance to civil society machineries such as free press, NGO's, lawyers and other rights groups and the denial of equal rights to ethnic minorities may be "problematic" and serves as an impediment to the "full potential" of the Chinese nation and its people.
"Obviously we recognize we have real difference there but President Xi shared his views to move forward on preserving China's unity and we will continue to consult each other on these issues," said Obama.
A coalition of Tibetan groups consisting of Capital Area Tibetan Association, Regional Capital Area, Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress NY&NJ and the Charlottesville Tibetan Association protested outside the White House while the press conference was being held.
It was clear though that amid the more touchy issues such as cyber security, climate control, maritime disputes and trade, the issue of human rights took the back seat as expected. The discussions were described as 'candid' by the Obama administration and 'without conflict and confrontation' by Xi.
Obama insisted they have reached a "common Understanding" yet vary of his opponent to fall short on his promises, he added, "The question now is, are words followed by actions?"