Taiwan's government approves visit by Dalai Lama

Taiwan's government approves visit by Dalai Lama Taiwan's government announced on Thursday that they agreed to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the island to comfort survivors of a devastating typhoon, a move that could anger China.

Beijing considers the Buddhist spiritual leader as "splittist" to promote autonomy in the Chinese region of Tibet. Visit to Taiwan that could affect the rapidly improving relations between Beijing and Taipei, rivals that are developing close economic after decades of enmity.

The invitation put Ma into a bind, either risk angering China, or give further ammunition to the opposition, which accuses him of hewing Beijing's line. On Thursday, Ma gave his answer while visiting a school in Nantou County that was destroyed in mudslides triggered by the storm, and he added that "The Dalai Lama could come to Taiwan to help rest the souls of the dead and also pray for the well-being of the survivors".

On Wednesday, leaders of seven municipalities hit by Morakot issued a joint statement inviting the Dalai Lama to visit storm victims from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. The invitation from the leaders — all from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, came as Ma faced criticism that he botched the government's response to the island's deadliest storm in 50 years.

That stance infuriates Beijing, which has repeatedly warned that any move to make the Taiwan-China split permanent would lead to war.


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