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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Bush brings up China, tells PM we’re different, open societies

September 30, 2008

Pranab Dhal Samanta
Indian Express
Sep 29, 2008

ON BOARD PM’S AIRCRAFT, SEPTEMBER 28 : The nuclear deal may have weighed
on the minds of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s delegation, but his
conversation with US President George W Bush went far beyond that and
took a qualitative leap when for the first time the two leaders had a
free-wheeling talk on China. While Bush underlined how China was
different to open societies like India and US, Singh is said to have
flagged off concerns its neighbours have about the next generation of
leadership in Beijing.

It was the US President who broached the topic, coming as it did after
the Chinese resistance at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meet, by bringing
up his visit to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Bush told Singh that Beijing was very nervous that he would cancel his
plans while he never had any such intentions. He had to give repeated
assurances to the Chinese leadership of his decision to be present.

While praising the Chinese effort for the Olympics, Bush also went on to
compare the openness in societies like India and the US to that of China
and pointed out that “we were different”. He even shared with Singh the
conversation that he had with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tibet and
the Dalai Lama during his visit.

According to top sources, Bush conveyed that he asked Hu to lower the
temperature on the Tibetan spiritual head as he was just a “man of
peace”. But Hu did not agree and told Bush that all the Dalai Lama
wanted was an independent Tibet — Hu was governor of the Tibet
Autonomous Region during its worst uprising.

Bush’s surprise was only matched by Singh’s response, who recalled a
conversation that Lee Kuan Yew had with him. The PM told him that the
father of modern Singapore had told him that he does not think the
generation ruling China now is inclined to conflict, so there should be
no cause for worry. But he added that even Lee Kuan Yew was not certain
about the attitude of the next generation.

Both India and US, despite their similarities, are conscious of the fact
that China is important partner to them. On Saturday, for instance, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a meeting of 14 countries
friendly to Myanmar to discuss the situation there. Foreign Secretary
Shivshankar Menon attended the meeting from the Indian side.

It’s learnt that US along with UK and France were keen to call off the
mission of UN Special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and even discussed the
possibility of a UNSC resolution asking Myanmar to free Aung San Su Kyi.
But India and China along with Russia blocked it and backed the Gambari
mission.
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