US Ambassador To China Visits Tibet

Urges officials to allow more travel in the region


BEIJING- On a rare trip to Tibet, the U.S. ambassador to China has met with residents and officials and urged authorities to allow foreigners to travel more freely in the tightly controlled region, the embassy said Thursday.

Gary Locke's three-day local government-organized trip in and around the region's capital, Lhasa, with members of his family and embassy staff ends Friday. U.S. Embassy deputy spokesman Justin Higgins said it was the first time Chinese authorities had approved an embassy request to visit Tibet since September 2010.

The embassy said that in his meetings, Locke lobbied for opening access to Tibet to foreign diplomats, journalists and tourists and stressed the "importance of preserving the Tibetan people's cultural heritage, including its unique linguistic, religious and cultural traditions."