Press and Statements
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27august20091Taipei - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou stated on Thursday that his government has agreed to allow Tibet's spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit the typhoon-afflicted island. In his announcement, the President of Taiwan insisted that the invitation was extended for humanitarian rather than political purposes. He said, "We have decided to (agree to) the Dalai Lama's visit to pray for the souls of the deceased and bless the survivors of the typhoon."

Ma Ying-jeou made the surprise announcement on Thursday, during his visit to the site of a school in Nantou County that was destroyed by typhoon-triggered mudslides on August 8 and 9. The storm claimed 670 lives. "The Dalai Lama could come to Taiwan to help lay to rest the souls of the dead and also pray for the well being of the survivors," Ma said.

The Tibet Religion Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama called by Taiwanese government to confirm that His Holiness would receive a visa from the Taiwanese government. Mr. Sodor, the Secretary General of the Foundation, told The Tibet Post International that, "After receiving the confirmation that a visa will be provided to His Holiness from Mr. Wang Yu-chi, the spoken-person of the Taiwanese government," they have ascertained that "His Holiness will come to Taiwan in the end of August."

"Taiwanese representative in Delhi, India has informed that office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to apply visa today. "The Tibetan spiritual leader will be issued visa as soon as possible, accompanied by about 19 other people to visit Taiwan." said, Mr Weng Wen Qi representative of Taiwan in India.

"The visit is based on humanitarian and religious considerations which should not hurt cross-strait ties," Wang Yu-chi emphasized, referring to Taiwan's relations with mainland China.

Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a historic first trip to Taiwan in 1997 and visited the island again in 2001, triggering strong condemnation from China.