Dalai Lama Welcomes China Offer On Talks

Exiled Tibetans hold portraits of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama during a candlelit vigil to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the birth of Panchen Lama in Dharmsala, India, Friday, April 25, 2008. Thousands of Tibetan exiles in India marched on Friday to demand the release of the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism, whom they say has been a prisoner in China since 1995. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia
The Dalai Lama welcomed China's offer to meet his envoy and said Saturday the two sides needed to talk seriously about how to resolve the problems that triggered riots in the Tibetan capital last month.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said he has yet to receive detailed information about the offer of dialogue, but that talks would be good.

"We have to explore the causes of the problems and seek a solution through talks," the Tibetan spiritual leader told reporters at his headquarters in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, a day after Beijing said it would meet his envoy.

"We need to have serious talks about how to reduce the Tibetan resentment within Tibet," he said. "But just merely meeting some of my men in order to show the world that they are having dialogue, then it is meaningless."

China's offer to meet the Dalai Lama's envoy gave few details, saying only that the "relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days."

Days of protests in Lhasa against Chinese rule turned violent on March 14, galvanizing critics of Beijing's communist regime and threatening to overshadow the Beijing summer Olympics - an object of massive national pride for China.

China says 22 people died in the violence, while overseas Tibet supporters say many times that number were killed in the protests and subsequent crackdown across Tibetan regions of western China.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, returned Saturday to Dharmsala after a two-week visit to the United States. He has said he wants meaningful autonomy for the Himalayan region - not independence.