Senior US Lawmaker Visits Tibet, Holds Talks in Beijing

U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (l) speaks during a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2015.

Following up her rare visit to Tibet, a senior lawmaker in the U.S. Congress, Nancy Pelosi, met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing Friday.

Pelosi, the Democratic Party's leader in the House of Representatives in Washington, toured Tibet this week, six years after she began asking Beijing to allow to travel to that autonomous region of China.

Pelosi said she expressed gratitude that she and other American lawmakers in her delegation were able to visit Tibet.

"Nevertheless, I am happy that we went to Tibet before we came to Beijing," she told the Chinese prime minister.

Trade, cybersecurity

Pelosi and six other members of Congress traveling with her are seeking ways to boost U.S. trade ties with China. Discussions with Li in Beijing also touched on cybersecurity issues, climate change and human rights.

The prime minister said China and the United States have more interests in common than they have differences, and he emphasized the steady growth of the two nations' relations.

"We believe that the common interests between our two countries far outweigh our differences," Li said. "The steady and sound growth of Sino-U.S. relations in the long run will serve the interests of the two countries."

Human rights

Pelosi has been a frequent, fierce critic of China's human-rights record in Tibet, and has been an advocate for the Himalayan region’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Chinese authorities accuse the Dalai Lama of separatism, claiming that he is trying to split the ties between China and Tibet, which Beijing has ruled since 1951.

The U.S. and the West have accused Beijing of suppressing demands for greater religious and cultural freedoms in Tibet.

The U.S. delegation included Representatives Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz of Minnesota, Joyce Beatty of Ohio and Alan Lowenthal and Ted Lieu of California.