Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Washington DC. In response to written questions on Tibet from members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the process of confirmation of Rex Tillerson, Cabinet nominee of President Trump for the Secretary of State, who got confirmed today by the Senate, he responded favorably to all the questions.
In his reply, Mr. Tillerson said that he commits to ensuring Human Rights issues including the cases of political prisoners that will be incorporated into US Diplomatic engagements with China. He considers the issues of religious freedom of Christians, Tibetan Buddhist, Uygyur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners as high priority. He added that evaluations on state of religious freedom should continue to be included in the annually released International Religious Freedom report, while emphasizing that in 2016 China was re-designated as a country of particular concern.
In response to US commitment on Sino Tibet dialogue he mentioned that while recognizing Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, he will continue to encourage dialogue between Beijing and Representatives of Tibet’s “Government in Exile” and/or the Dalai Lama. He stressed that he will also encourage Beijing and the Governments of all nations to respect and preserve the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of the Tibetan people worldwide.
On the question whether he would commit to receiving and meeting with the Dalai Lama, he answered with an emphatic ‘Yes’. He also agreed that denial of visas and blocking the access of reporters, civil society actors, diplomats and others to places like Tibet that restrict freedom of movement and information as ‘problematic’.
Mr. Tillerson further commits to assess as to what should be the best policy, recognizing that reciprocity in treatment is a principal in bilateral relations in response to whether it would be advisable to limit the number of visas allowed to executives or administrative personnel from Chinese state owned media enterprises operating in the US or on Chinese officials who are responsible for denying access to Tibet to US citizens with visa sanctions.
Mr. Rex Tillerson was the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil before he was nominated by President Trump in the new Administration. He was approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee with 11/10 votes on party lines and confirmed today by the full Senate with 56 votes in favor, 43 against, and 1 abstention.