updated 4/26/2008 11:12:45 AM ET 2008-04-26T15:12:45

The Dalai Lama said Saturday he welcomed China's offer to meet his envoy and said the two sides needed to talk seriously about how to resolve the problems that triggered riots in the Tibetan capital last month.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said he has yet to receive detailed information about the offer but that talks would be good.

"We have to explore the causes of the problems and seek solution through talks," the Tibetan spiritual leader said a day after China said it would meet his envoy.

He talked to reporters after returning to his headquarters in the northern India town of Dharmsala from a two-week trip to the United States.

"We need to have serious talks about how to reduce the Tibetan resentment within Tibet," he said.

"But just mere meeting some of my men in order to show the world that they are having dialogue, then it is meaningless," the Dalai Lama said.

Chinese media attacks Dalai Lama
China's announcement Friday of its offer to meet the Dalai Lama's envoy gave few details, saying only "relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days."

But just as China said it would meet his envoy, Chinese state media launched fresh attacks Saturday against him, blaming him for the recent unrest among Tibetans that threatens to tarnish this summer's Beijing Olympics.

The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, printed an editorial on Saturday attacking "the Dalai clique" for seeking support from Western countries and ignoring "the efforts and achievements made by China after shaking off serfdom and poverty in Tibet."

The Tibet Daily, another party newspaper, said "the Lhasa March 14 incident is another ugly performance meticulously plotted by the Dalai clique to seek Tibet independence."

Last month, anti-government riots broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, galvanizing critics of Beijing's communist regime and sparking a crackdown from Chinese forces.

Fallout could overshadow Olympics
The fallout from the unrest and China's response has threatened to overshadow the Olympics, meant to showcase China's rising prominence on the world stage. It has already turned the international relay of the Olympic torch into a lightning rod for protests against China's rule in the Himalayan region and its human rights record.

The new attacks follow others in recent weeks, in which the government has branded the Dalai Lama a "wolf in monk's robes" and his followers the "scum of Buddhism," helping whip up Chinese nationalism.

Beijing's announcement Friday had appeared to be a reversal from these tactics, though it gave few details and repeated long-established preconditions for real negotiations. One of those conditions — that the Dalai Lama unambiguously recognize Tibet as a part of China — could forestall any immediate breakthroughs.

Some critics have questioned whether the overture was just a way to deflect criticism ahead of the Olympics.

But White House press secretary Dana Perino said Friday the Bush administration was encouraged by the news.

"We are hopeful that this will be a new direction in their relationship," Perino said.

The International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group, said the news showed China was responding to international pressure, but added that similar offers from Beijing have yielded little in the past.

China says 22 people died in violence in Tibet's capital Lhasa, while overseas Tibet supporters say many times that number have been killed in protests and the security crackdown across Tibetan regions of western China.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, says he seeks meaningful autonomy for Tibet — not independence.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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