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US Senators Urge Kerry to Make Tibet Important Issue

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, greets upon his arrival at Seoul military airport in Seongnam, South Korea, April 12, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, greets upon his arrival at Seoul military airport in Seongnam, South Korea, April 12, 2013.

Twenty-one U.S. senators have urged Secretary of State John Kerry to make Tibet an "integral issue" during his visit to China on Saturday.

In a bipartisan letter, the senators called on Kerry to take specific steps during his visit, including urging China's government to resume dialogue with Tibetan leaders. They also recommended that Kerry appoint a new U.S. special coordinator for Tibetan issues and establish a U.S. consulate in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The letter was authored by Republicans Mark Udall and Marco Rubio, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein.

Udall wrote that Kerry's "demonstrated concern" about Tibet during his service in the Senate makes his visit to China "timely and important." Udall also said Kerry understands the need to resume dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan leaders.

The letter also said the U.S. has a "moral responsibility" to help the many Tibetans who struggle to preserve their culture, religion and dignity "in the face of destructive Chinese policies."

More than 100 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 to protest what they say is Chinese repression of their culture. China denies the charges and says the suicide protests are acts of terrorism.
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