US ambassador makes rare visit to Tibet
- News Digest
May 21, 2019-
BEIJING: The US ambassador to China is making the first trip to Tibet by an American envoy in four years after obtaining rare access to the restricted region, his embassy said on Monday. The visit by Ambassador Terry Branstad comes two months after the US State Department said Beijing had “systematically” impeded access to Tibetan areas for US diplomats, journalists and tourists. Branstad was scheduled to visit Qinghai province and the neighbouring Tibet Autonomous Region from Sunday until this Saturday, an embassy spokesperson said in an email to AFP. “This visit is a chance for the Ambassador to engage with local leaders to raise longstanding concerns about restrictions on religious freedom and the preservation of Tibetan culture and language,” the spokesperson said. “The Ambassador welcomes this opportunity to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region, and encourages authorities to provide access to the region to all American citizens.” Branstad will have official meetings, visit schools and tour religious and cultural heritage sites. His visit comes amid rising trade war tensions between Beijing and Washington. Branstad’s predecessor, Max Baucus, visited Tibet in May 2015. According to the State Department’s March report, five out of nine US requests to visit Tibet were rejected last year, including one by Branstad.
Published: 21-05-2019 10:33