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August 28, 2009

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Mainland rails against Dalai Lama Taiwan trip

THE Chinese mainland yesterday denounced a proposed trip to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama, saying the visit threatened to "sabotage" improving relations across the Taiwan Strait.

The mainland "resolutely opposes" the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan "in whatever form and capacity," said a spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

Taiwan approved the visit by the Dalai Lama to "comfort victims of Typhoon Morakot."

About 650 people are feared dead after Morakot soaked Taiwan from August 7 to 9.

The office of Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, under fire for perceptions the response to Morakot was too slow, met for five hours late Wednesday and decided to honor the invitation extended to the Dalai Lama by seven mayors and county chiefs from Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party.

"We've decided to let the Dalai Lama visit as he is coming here to pray for the dead, as well as the survivors," Ma said yesterday.

"The Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure," said the spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office. "Under the pretext of religion, he has all along been engaged in separatist activities."

"When people from all sectors on the mainland are lending a hand to help Taiwan rebuild and overcome the typhoon disaster quickly, some DPP members have taken the chance to plot the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan," he said.

"Obviously this is not for the sake of disaster relief. It's an attempt to sabotage the hard-earned good situation in cross-strait relations," the spokesman said.


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