The Consulate of the United States of America in Chengdu earlier this month announced the launch a new website for the Virtual Presence Post (VPP) Lhasa.
With an “improved design” and added features, the new website can be viewed in Tibetan, English, and Mandarin.
VPPs are a relatively new diplomatic approach aimed at broadening US engagement with key cities, communities, regions, and countries where there are no American embassies or consulate buildings.
VPPs provide a low but formal level of diplomatic engagement, with officials from nearby embassies or consulates regularly traveling to the place, holding public outreach programs and media events, thereby creating a virtual presence capable of directly interacting with the local population.
Announcing the launch of the new website, US Consular General in Chengdu said that the VPP Lhasa will “focus on planning and promoting outreach events in Lhasa, providing American Citizen Services to U.S. citizens in Lhasa, and highlighting areas of cooperation between the United States and the people of Lhasa”.
“It is our hope that this new “post” will help us increase interaction and build stronger ties with Lhasa and the Tibet Autonomous Region by giving you more opportunities to hear directly from Consulate officers on topics such as visas, trade and investment in the United States, and news about upcoming cultural or other events in the United States,” the release said.
“We hope to share our experiences with you and learn from you as well, both in person when we visit or online. This website seeks to embrace our shared future together and enhance our cooperation.”
In July this year, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee had directed the US Secretary of State to forbid additional Chinese consulates in the United States until China allows a US consulate in Lhasa, Tibet.
The US House of Representatives in 2009 had passed a bill authorising the establishment of a US Consulate in Tibet and also allowing the creation of a “Tibet Section” in the US embassy in Beijing.