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Dalai Lama Expresses Hope for Better Relations With China - 2004-03-10

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is hopeful there will be a significant breakthrough in relations with China this year.

In a statement released Wednesday commemorating Tibetan National Uprising Day, the Dalai Lama said he is determined to seek a "mutually beneficial" solution to the Tibet issue. He said such a solution would address Chinese concerns, as well as achieve for the Tibetan people a life in freedom, peace and dignity.

The Dalai Lama also said he asked his envoys to visit China as soon as possible to continue talks that began in late 2002.

Last week, China said it was open to negotiations with the Tibetan spiritual leader himself, but only if he gives up the quest for Tibetan independence and recognizes that Tibet is an inseparable part of China

The Dalai Lama has said many times that he is seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet, not independence from China.

Tibetan National Uprising Day commemorates a failed March 1959 anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet. The Dalai Lama fled to India shortly afterwards.

Scores of pro-Tibet demonstrators rallied near India's parliament building in New Delhi Wednesday to demand international support for the Tibetan people.