(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura

Date: Friday, April 25, 2008, 6:10 p.m.
Place: In front of the Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topic:

  1. Dialogue between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama

1. Dialogue between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama

Minister:
Today, the Chinese Government announced that it is prepared to hold dialogue with the representative of the Dalai Lama. Prior to that announcement, at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, the Japanese Embassy in Beijing received an informal notification that at first this information was delivered to the US and Japan. I strongly hope that this dialogue will take place successfully and that it will have real meaning. I would like to welcome this as a first step forward.

Question:
At what level will the dialogue be held?

Minister:
The dialogue is to take place with the representative of the Dalai Lama. Last time, I understand it was the older brother of the Dalai Lama who attended the dialogue. I do not know exactly what level it will be, but I am sure that it will be somebody personally designated by the Dalai Lama and somebody of a certain standing on the Chinese side. I very much hope that the dialogue will be realized in a way that will produce good results.

Question:
I suppose there is a significant gap in the contentions between the Dalai Lama's side and the Chinese side. What are your thoughts on that?

Minister:
There are many different people at various levels on the Dalai Lama's side. As far as the statements that the Dalai Lama himself has made through the media -- I have not heard them directly -- my impression is that his approach is rather flexible. However, I cannot say for sure that all of the people who support the Dalai Lama take such a flexible approach. In any event, it is extremely good that some form of dialogue will be initiated and my hope is that it will be a meaningful dialogue that helps produce positive results.

Question:
When will the dialogue take place? Furthermore, President Hu Jintao will visit Japan next week. Please explain once again how this matter will be taken up.

Minister:
I am sure that Prime Minister Fukuda will decide what to discuss based on the situation prevailing at the time of the meeting. At any rate, I do believe that the Chinese side has started to take an initial first step.

Related Information (Japan-China Relations)


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