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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 foreign minister chided for comments on Dalai Lama's visit

December 15, 2008

By DPA
Monsters and Critics.com - USA
Dec 14, 2008
 
Taipei - Taiwan's Foreign Minister Francisco Ou has come under criticism by the opposition party for saying that the Dalai Lama's overseas visits are politically motivated, a newspaper reported Sunday.
 
Ou made the remark Saturday while giving a speech on Taiwan's foreign policies at the Yishou University in Kaohsiung County, south Taiwan, according to the Liberty Times.
 
During the question and answer period, a student asked Ou's opinion on the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, visiting Taiwan.
 
Ou said that the Foreign Ministry was not involved in arranging the Dalai Lama's visit, but that Ou's personal view was that the Dalai Lama was not merely a religious leader but also a political leader that his overseas visits have political motivations and considerations.
 
Ou's remark drew sharp criticism from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which plans to invite the Dalai Lama to make his third visit to Taiwan.
 
DPP lawmaker Lai Ching-teh said that Ou's remark shows that President Ma Ying-jeou's government is looking at the Dalai Lama 'with political eyeglasses.'
 
'It's a pity that the Ma government refuses to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan for fear of angering China,' the Liberty Times quoted him as saying.
 
Tsai Huang-lang, another DPP lawmaker, said that Ou is not fit to be foreign minister.
 
'His remark will make the international community see Taiwan as an appendix of a totalitarian state (China). This is a misfortune for Taiwan,' he said.
 
Ou's remark comes after Ma said last week that it was not appropriate for the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan at the present time. The statement came as a shock to many Taiwanese, because Ma has in the past welcomed the Dalai Lama to Taiwan.
 
On Tuesday, Ma denied that he does not want the Dalai Lama's visit now so as not to hurt improving Taipei-Beijing ties.
 
Ma stressed: 'Visiting another country is not a small matter, so both sides must find a time which is convenient to both sides. ... Yet we should not ignore the fact the Dalai is also a political leader.'
 
The Dalai Lama visited Taiwan in 1997 and 2001 to give Buddhist lectures and meet with former president Lee Teng-hui and then- president Chen Shui-bian. He had since turned down Taipei's invitation to visit Taiwan for fear of hurting his own talks with Beijing over the future of Tibet.
 
But as the Tibet talks failed, the Dalai Lama said in October and November that he would like to visit Taiwan again and praised Taiwan's democracy.
 
The Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is held in great esteem by many foreign leaders who have defied China's warnings against receiving the Dalai Lama, officially or privately.
 
While many countries call the Dalai Lama the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, China condemns him as a 'political refugee' engaged in activities of splitting the motherland.
 
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