INDEPENDENT NEWS

Goff To Make Historic Visit To Tibet

Published: Mon 28 May 2001 09:31 AM
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement
27 May 2001
GOFF TO MAKE HISTORIC VISIT TO TIBET
Phil Goff becomes the first New Zealand Foreign Minister to visit Tibet when he leaves for the region tomorrow.
The visit is at the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Tang as a result of Mr Goff raising human rights concerns about Tibet.
Tibet has been the focus of human rights concerns about the right of the Tibetan people to manage their own affairs and to promote their language, culture and religion. Groups such as Amnesty International have also raised concerns about freedom of speech and prisoners of conscience.
"The visit is a chance to assess conditions in Tibet at first hand and to continue dialogue on human rights issues directly with authorities in Tibet. Both Amnesty International and Friends of Tibet have encouraged me to take up the invitation.
"I go there with an open mind and a readiness to give credit where positive changes are occurring but also to be critical on things that are inconsistent with international human rights standards.
"New Zealand enjoys a good relationship with China and the strength of links – political, trade and people-to-people between our two countries is growing.
"Within the context of that relationship however we have full and frank discussions about issues on which we disagree, including human rights.
"We welcome progress within China including its memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Human Rights Commission, its ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and moves to implement the rule of law.
"A key goal of the visit to Tibet is to learn more about Tibet on the ground and to engage in dialogue with officials to encourage further progress in the area of human rights," Mr Goff said.
The Minister will also visit Hong Kong where he will meet Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and new Chief Secretary for Administration, Donald Tsang Yam Kuen. Mr Goff will discuss a variety of issues including the proposal for a Closer Economic Partnership agreement with Hong Kong.
ENDS
Goff visit to Tibet/Hong Kong May 28-June 4
Accommodation in Lhasa, Tibet: Himalaya Hotel, ph 008 891 633 1430
Accommodation details for Xigatze, Tibet yet to be confirmed.
Accommodation in Hong Kong: Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, ph 00852 2802 8888
Time Difference
New Zealand is four hours AHEAD of Tibet and Hong Kong.
Itinerary
Monday 28 May (Auckland/Melbourne/Singapore)
1520 Depart Auckland for Melbourne
1715 Arrive Melbourne
1800 Depart Melbourne for Singapore
2345 Arrive Singapore
Tuesday 29 May (Singapore/Chengdu/Lhasa)
0115 Depart Singapore for Beijing
0715 Arrive Beijing
0845 Depart Beijing for Chengdu, Tibet
1115 Arrive Chengdu
1215 Depart Chengdu for Lhasa
1430 Arrive Lhasa
PM Visit Jokhang Temple and environs.
Wednesday 30 May (Lhasa)
AM Official calls.
PM Potala Palace
Thursday 31 May (Lhasa)
AM Official calls.
PM Official calls and visit to Drepung Monastery
Friday 1 June (Lhasa/Xigatze)
Travel to Xigatze (approx 6 hours)
Official calls.
Monastery visit.
Saturday 2 June (Xigatze/Lhasa)
Travel to Lhasa
Visit ODA project en route
Sunday 3 June (Lhasa/Chengdu/Hong Kong)
0940 Depart Lhasa for Chengdu
1125 Arrive Chengdu
1410 Depart Chengdu for Hong Kong
1640 Arrive Hong Kong
Monday 4 June
1430 Call on Hon Rita Fan, President of the Legislative Council.
1530 Call on Hon Donald Tsang, Chief Secretary for Administration.
1630 Call on Tung Chee Hwa, Chief Executive.
1700 Call on CY Leung, Convenor of the Executive Council.
2025 Depart Hong Kong for Auckland.
Tuesday 5 June
1110 Arrive Auckland.
ENDS

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