New Delhi: Beijing has given into sustained international pressure and agreed to talk to the Dalai Lama.
No details have been given except that officials will meet representatives of the Dalai Lama in the coming days.
The Dalai Lama's office in Dharamshala has welcomed the offered of talks.
Meanwhile, anti-China protestors and hundreds of Falun Gong supporters demonstrated as the flame passed through the Japanese city of Nagano.
The Interpol has said such protests suggest more disruptions were possible during the august games. Interpol and China have now set up a hotline to secure the Olympics.
"It is hoped that through contact and consultation, the Dalai side will take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games so as to create conditions for talks," the official was quoted as saying.
Recent official denunciations of the Dalai Lama had usually referred to the Dalai "clique", rather than Dalai "side". The United States and France have urged Beijing to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he would meet the Tibetan leader when he visits Britain in May.
France and the US welcomed the announcement of talks. "This is a major step. This renewed dialogue carries real hope," French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement.
The US embassy in Beijing said in a statement that the dialogue would be "a very positive development". The European Commission also backed the talks. "As far as I understand the Chinese position, the Chinese say they are ready to discuss everything except sovereignty for Tibet," EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
(With Reuters inputs)