The United States has begun exploring the possibility of opening a consulate in Tibet to get better access to the Chinese province, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday. ( dpa )
Rice's comments come after Beijing launched a crackdown last month in Tibet on demonstrations against Chinese rule, a move that sparked international condemnation. This month, the torch relay to promote the Beijing Olympics was met by distruptive protests in Europe and on Wednesday in San Francisco, spurred largely by China's human-rights record in Tibet.
The United States has been frustrated by Chinese restrictions on access to Tibet since the unrest began. Only one US diplomat has been able to visit the Himalayan region, escorted by Chinese officials.
"We pressed for access, consular access for diplomats into Tibet," Rice said. "We got some limited access, but, frankly, it wasn't good enough."
Meanwhile, President George W Bush called on Beijing to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, to bring an end to the unrest.
"We both agree that it would stand the Chinese government in good stead if they would begin a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama," Bush said after meeting with Singapore's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Some world leaders are considering boycotting the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games in August.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that Bush's schedule for the Olympics has not been finalized. She said that Bush intends to attend the Olympics but declined to say whether he will participate in the opening ceremonies.