Taiwan’s decision to welcome Dalai Lama to raise China’s hackles
TAIPEI (TAIWAN) – A visit by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, would be welcomed by Taiwan, its foreign ministry said on Monday. However, the trip would enrage Beijing which views him as a dangerous separatist.
The Dalai Lama has not paid a visit to the Chinese-claimed, democratic island, which comes under the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen, who assumed office in 2016. The Dalai Lama had last come in 2009.
Dalai Lama said he would like to visit again, in a birthday message via video link to supporters in Taiwan on Sunday.
“As the political scenario changes, it may be that I’ll be able to visit you in Taiwan again. I hope so. Whatever happens I’ll remain with you in spirit,” he said on his website.
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government an application for him to travel to the island has not been received but would be dealt with under “relevant rules” in case they got one.
Ou added, “We will, in accordance with the principle of mutual respect and at a time of convenience for both sides, welcome the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan again to propagate Buddhist teachings.”
Beijing is in doubts that Taiwan’s president wishes to moot for the island’s formal independence. Tsai, however, says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, which is its official name.
Taipei-Beijing relations have deteriorated further since Taiwan offered to open their arms for Hong Kong people who want to leave the city after China passed the much talked about new national security law last week. Beijing has not been in favour of the offer.
The Dalai Lama had fled into exile in India in 1959 after an upheaval against Chinese rule.
China accuses him of being a “splittist”, but he affirms that he only wants genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.