Aborting a plan to publicly offer an olive branch to Beijing, the Dalai Lama said he intended to pursue private talks with China instead. Citing an atmosphere of 'deep distrust' between the two sides, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said there was no point issuing a statement of major concessions on Tibet's status before going over it in unofficial communications with the mainland. On the White House lawn where the Dalai Lama had intended, as recently as a week ago, to make what he called a 'formal response' to overtures from President Jiang Zemin, he instead acknowledged 'a low profile would be more useful'. 'I do not wish to make a unilateral statement without the opportunity of prior informal consultation with the Chinese leadershsip,' he said following a meeting with President Bill Clinton. 'I believe such an informal consultation needs to take place in order to forestall misunderstanding and to receive a positive response from the Chinese leadership.' Referring to outbursts from Beijing over his trip to Washington, the Dalai Lama said: 'I am trying to avoid anything which causes more accusations.' But with no immediate sign that such consultations are imminent, Tibetan hopes will now fall on Mr Clinton to renew pressure on Mr Jiang to promote a dialogue when the two leaders meet in Malaysia at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Kuala Lumpur next week. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said: 'The Dalai Lama and Mr Clinton discussed how best to increase the trust between China and Tibet and how best to move forward to establish a dialogue for both sides to resolve issues. 'The President welcomed the Dalai Lama's commitment to initiate a dialogue with the Chinese Government. 'I expect the President, in his meeting next week with President Jiang, will discuss a wide array of issues, which may include this issue.' US State Department spokesman James Rubin said: 'We've urged dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities. The modalities and substance of any such dialogue are strictly for the Dalai Lama and the People's Republic of China to decide themselves.' The Dalai Lama, who also held talks with Vice-President Al Gore and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, defended Washington's role in trying to act as an intermediary, saying it had been 'positive'.