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Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Page: 153

Mr Slipper asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 21 October 2009:

(1)   Is the Government aware that both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials have conceded that seven years of talks have failed to bring progress towards a mutually agreeable resolution on the Tibetan issue.

(2)   Is the Government aware that both parties have referred to the dialogue as having stalled.

(3)   Is the Government aware of new conditions outlined by Zhu Weiqun, Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party, for the restoration of the dialogue, including that the Dalai Lama must stop travelling abroad.

(4)   Has the Chinese Government requested the Australian Government adhere to China’s position on Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in order to enable better cooperation between Australia and China on other issues.

(5)   What steps does the Government intend to take to support the peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue.

Mr Stephen Smith (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   Yes.

(4)   China’s view, as put to Australia, is that both countries should respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns so as to safeguard the overall interests of bilateral cooperation. The Tibet issue is one such concern for China. The position of successive Australian governments since 1972 has been to respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including over Tibet.

(5)   The Government continues to encourage both parties to resume dialogue.