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Dalai Lama's international news conference may be canceled: official

August 31, 2009

Central News Agency
August 30, 2009

Kaohsiung, Aug. 30 (CNA) -- An international news
conference by the Dalai Lama that was scheduled
for Monday morning in Kaohsiung City may be
canceled, a Kaohsiung city government source said Sunday.

The city government was informed Sunday by the
Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, the de facto representative office of
the Tibetan government in exile in Taiwan, that
the Dalai Lama will proceed to the Typhoon
Morakot disaster areas earlier than originally
scheduled on Monday, the source said.

"The arrangements for the news conference have
been halted, " the city government official said.

However, as of press time, the Kaohsiung city
government had not notified the 130-odd media
outlets from home and abroad that had registered
to attend the news conference of any cancellation
of the press conference, the official said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was scheduled to
arrive in Taiwan late Sunday for a six-day visit
-- his third to Taiwan. He first visited Taiwan in 1997 and again in 2001.

The Dalai Lama was invited by local government
chiefs in southern Taiwan to comfort and pray for
the typhoon victims in areas that were hardest hit by Morakot Aug.7-9.

His itinerary includes delivering a speech and
presiding over a prayer ceremony at Kaohsiung
Arena for typhoon victims on Sept. 1 and meeting
with Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi of the Roman Catholic
Church at a Kaohsiung hotel on Sept. 2, the official said.

A local media outlet reported Sunday that a
ranking official from the ruling Kuomintang made
a telephone call to the Kaohsiung city government
Saturday, suggesting that Mayor Chen Chu cancel
the Dalai Lama's international news conference
and make the "religious visit as simple as
possible." The Kaoshiung city government declined to confirm the report.

China has strongly denounced the trip but has
avoided laying the blame on President Ma
Ying-jeou, who gave the final approval for the
Dalai Lama's visit. Instead, Beijing has accused
the opposition Democratic Progressive Party of
sabotaging warming cross-Taiwan Strait ties by
inviting someone China brands as a "separatist." (By Deborah Kuo)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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