Dalai Lama invited to visit southern Taiwan: office

New Delhi, India, Aug. 26 (CNA) The Dalai Lama has received an invitation from a group of local government officials to visit Taiwan, and he is ready to immediately embark on the trip, the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama confirmed Wednesday.
Thekchen Choeling, secretary general of the office, told CNA by phone that the matter will be negotiated by the representative office of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the authorities in Taipei.
In principle, the Dalai Lama is "very willing" to visit southern Taiwan to show his deep concern for the victims of Typhoon Morakot, the office said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader has repeatedly said that he would be very willing to visit Taiwan again as long as it would not create trouble for the government.
W. C. Weng, Taiwan's representative to India, told CNA he was aware that the Dalai Lama had been invited to visit Taiwan, but declined to comment further.
The invitation was issued jointly by several local government heads from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in the wake of Typhoon Morakot. They are heads of some of the municipalities in areas that were hardest hit by the storm.
Earlier Wednesday, Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu urged the central government to permit the Dalai Lama's visit, given that the Tibetan spiritual leader has agreed to travel to Taiwan to pray for the typhoon victims.
"The office of the Dalai Lama has responded favorably to the invitation, and the central government should set aside its political considerations and allow him to visit Taiwan on humanitarian grounds," Chen said at a news conference at Kaohsiung City Hall.
"A visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan will definitely boost morale among the typhoon victims and help them to find peace and rebuild their lives as soon as possible," Chen said.
According to the Kaohsiung City mayor, the Taipei-based Tibet Religious Foundation of H. H. The Dalai Lama responded positively Aug. 25 to the city government's inquiry on Aug. 23 about a possible visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama. "We received a prompt positive reply from the foundation, saying that the Dalai Lama would like to visit southern Taiwan from Aug.
31- Sept. 3. and meet with typhoon victims housed in emergency shelters," she said.
The Dalai Lama's office has sent officials to Delhi, where they will apply on his behalf at Taiwan's representative office there for a Taiwan visa, she added.
The Dalai Lama now lives in exile in Dharamsala in northern India.
Hsu Li-ming, director-general of the Kaohsiung City Information Office, said the major purpose of the proposed visit is for the Dalai Lama to console typhoon victims and encourage them to find peace and start a new life as soon as possible.
According to Hsu, Dharamsala is also under strong threat from mudslides and landslides. "The Dalai Lama has deep compassion for those left homeless by Typhoon Morakot, and because of this has promised to come to Taiwan, " he added.
(By Flor Wang)

Updated : 2021-02-26 15:26 GMT+08:00