Taiwan said Thursday that it will allow a visit by the Dalai Lama to pray for the victims of the typhoon-battered island.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou made the announcement Thursday while visiting a school in the southern part of the island, a government spokesman said. Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan on August 8 and unleashed floods, mudslides and misery. More than 400 people were killed. The Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit could anger China, which accuses him of advocating for an independent Tibet. Taiwan and the mainland are only now smoothing their relationship after years of animosity. An invitation to the Dalai Lama has the potential to undermine that.
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China considers Taiwan a renegade province. Taiwan’s relations with the mainland have improved under Ma, who has taken a more conciliatory approach, unlike his predecessor. Then-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian rejected China’s assertion that there is only “one China” and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.