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Norway Trying to Broker Peace Between China and Tibet

June 5, 2008

Norway reportedly has been conducting top-secret diplomacy to resolve
the lengthy and bitter conflict between Chinese authorities and the
exiled Tibetan government and its spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama.
Two state secretaries in the Foreign Ministry are said to be heavily involved.
Nina Berglund, English Web Desk
Aftenposten (Norway)
June 4, 2008

Newspaper VG reported on Wednesday that the efforts to bring
officials from China and the exiled government of Tibet together have
gone on for years.

VG cited sources in Washington who also said that various regimes
within the US State Department have been kept aware of the peace efforts.

Only a handful of people have been made aware of the diplomatic
activity, said to be a combination of brokering and paving the way
for contact between the two sides.

Chinese authorities have reportedly demanded the secrecy, because
they otherwise have publicly taken a hard line against Tibet and
repeatedly claimed that it's always been a part of China. The
government in Beijing therefore has taken the stand that there's
nothing to negotiate.

State secretaries Raymond Johansen and Vidar Helgesen of the
Norwegian Foreign Ministry have nonetheless steered efforts towards
some sort of reconciliation between Chinese and Tibetan authorities,
reports VG. Meetings have gone on both in Norway and abroad, where
Norwegian diplomats have had talks with Chinese officials and
representatives of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

In one case, Johansen traveled to Geneva on business and then took a
side trip to "a neighbouring country" where he is said to have met
with the brother of The Dalai Lama at a castle. The Norwegian and
Chinese foreign ministers also have had confidential talks, wrote VG.

In another case, a special position allegedly was created for a
visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Oslo. The university
wasn't aware, however, that the position was actually a cover for the
scholar's real mission in Norway, which was to advise Norwegian
diplomats based on his contacts in Beijing and his knowledge of Tibet
and its culture.

American sources have allegedly praised Norway's "wisdom" and
"creativity" in moving the secret diplomacy forward. Johansen
declined any comment.
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