ASEAN Opposes Linking Tibet Issue With Beijing Olympics

SINGAPORE – The ASEAN regional bloc said on Wednesday it opposed linking the issue of Tibet with the Beijing Olympics, saying this would only politicise the sports event.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) senior officials meeting in Singapore, which is the bloc’s current chair, were briefed on recent developments in Tibet by Chinese assistant foreign minister He Yafei, the city-state’s foreign ministry said.

“Linking the Tibetan issue with the Beijing Olympics will serve no purpose other than to politicise the Games,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It is in the interest of the region that a long-term solution be found that addresses the concerns of the Tibetan people while respecting China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“The ASEAN members also expressed confidence that the Beijing Olympics would be a success.”

The ASEAN officials welcomed the “restoration of normalcy” in Tibet and China’s decision to hold talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s
exiled spiritual leader, the statement said.

Beijing, in the spotlight ahead of the Summer Games, offered to hold talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoys after foreign leaders pressured it to re-open negotiations following seven weeks of deadly unrest in Tibet and other parts of China with Tibetan population.

Exiled Tibetan officials say 203 Tibetans have been killed and about 1,000 injured in the Chinese crackdown on the latest unrest. China says Tibetan “rioters” and “insurgents” killed 21 people.

Senior officials from the 10-member ASEAN had been meeting in Singapore over the past two days to prepare for a gathering of foreign ministers in July.

China is a major trading partner for ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. – AFP/al

Channel News Asia

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