The European Union, Britain and Australia have expressed welcome over China's decision to meet with the Dalai Lama's private representative. [Full Coverage]
Xinhua learned from official sources on Friday that "the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with the Dalai's private representative in the coming days."
The 27-member European bloc said on Friday in a statement that it welcomed the move, which will contribute "to the successful preparation and staging of the Olympic Games in Beijing."
The statement promised a further enhancement of comprehensive dialogue between the EU and China.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Friday in a statement: "Today's announcement by the Chinese government that Chinese officials will meet representatives of the Dalai Lama in the coming days is positive."
Meanwhile, The Guardian, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and Times reported: "The news was welcomed by overseas governments and the European commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, speaking after a meeting with the Chinese president Hu Jintao, described it as 'encouraging'."
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Saturday that the Australian government welcomed reports that Chinese officials would meet with a representative of the Dalai Lama.
"I encourage both sides to make the best use of this opportunity," Smith said.
A Chinese official told Xinhua on Friday: "In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with the Dalai's private representative in the coming days."
"The policy of the central government toward the Dalai has been consistent and the door of dialogue has remained open," he said.
"It is hoped that through contact and consultation, the Dalai side will take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games, so as to create conditions for talks," the official added.
(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2008)