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  Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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China will continue to talk with representatives of the Dalai Lama,
China will continue to talk with representatives of the Dalai Lama, if the Tibetan spiritual leader puts an end to what China sees as separatist activity, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday.

In his annual news conference, broadcast on national television, Wen also focused on the global economic crisis, promoting the Chinese government's 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package of public works and calling on the United States to protect the vast sums China has invested in the country, particularly federal debt.

Speaking at the close of the Chinese parliament's annual session, he also pushed for progress in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program as the only way to provide security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Wen defended Chinese policies in Tibet, saying the province was "stable and calm" and the local population's religious freedom and other basic rights were protected.

"The door for the negotiations is always open," he said, adding that three rounds of negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama had taken place in the past year.

Wen said China was ready for further talks, as long as the Dalai Lama was "sincere" and "abandoned separatist activity."

"Tibet is an inseparable part of China," he declared.

One year ago anti-Chinese protests in Tibet erupted into violence, in which the Chinese authorities say 19 people died. Pro-Tibetan groups put the figure much higher.

Wen expressed concerns about the value of China's investments in the U.S. economy.

"China is the most important creditor of the United States," he said. "China seeks guarantees that its investments will be protected."

At the end of November, China held $682 billion in U.S. Treasuries.

"President [Barack] Obama has introduced a package of measures to combat the global financial crisis. We wait to see what effect these measures will have," Wen said.

Chinese workers have been hit hard by the global economic crisis, with plunging exports forcing tens of millions out of work. The massive stimulus package, recently approved by the parliament, is hoped to ease the pain of job cuts and head off the risk of major public unrest.


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