(* 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
- Dialogue between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama
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.
At what level will the dialogue be held?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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