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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Taiwan quashes hopes for visit soon by Dalai Lama

December 5, 2008

TAIPEI Wed Dec 3, 2008 (Reuters) - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday quashed hopes for a visit by the Dalai Lama just days after an official close to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said he would like to visit the island next year.
China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, since when Taiwan has welcomed visits by political dissidents scorned by China and visits by the Dalai Lama, whom China brands a separatist.
Taiwan is also home to a large exiled Tibetan community and hosted two visits by the Dalai Lama in 1997 and 2002.
"Certainly the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan twice as a religious leader," Ma told reporters at a foreign media briefing in Taipei. "We generally welcome religious leaders from over the world to visit Taiwan. But I think at the current moment, (the) timing isn't appropriate for that."
The Dalai Lama had aimed to visit Taiwan to see friends and teach religion, Khedroob Thondup, a Taipei-based member of Tibet's parliament-in-exile, said on Monday.
Since taking office in May, Ma's administration has gone to pains to avoid making moves that could anger Beijing and instead has pursued a policy of seeking closer economic ties.
China pulled out of a long-planned Monday summit with the EU over French President Nicolas Sarkozy's scheduled meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing reviles for demanding self-determination for his mountain homeland.
The 73-year-old Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in the region, occupied by People's Liberation Army troops from 1950. China brands him a "splittist", but the Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking autonomy for Tibet.
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