The Dalai Lama left for Taiwan on Sunday for a trip that will include praying for victims of Typhoon Morakot.
The Tibetan spiritual leader boarded a plane in New Delhi, India, early Sunday morning ET. He is expected to return to India on September 4. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said last week that he approved the Dalai Lama’s visit to the typhoon-battered island. Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan on August 8 and unleashed floods, mudslides and misery. More than 400 people were killed. The visit has angered mainland China, which accuses the spiritual leader and Taiwan of separatism. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating Tibetan independence from China, and considers Taiwan to be a renegade province. Taiwan’s relations with China have improved under Ma, who has taken a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor. Watch a report on the Dalai Lama’s planned visit »
Then-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian rejected China’s assertion that there is only “One China” and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it. The Dalai Lama’s spokesman Tenzin Taklha has denied there is any political subtext to the visit.