The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has no plan to visit Taiwan after completing his visit to Japan next Thursday, Tibetan sources said Saturday, denying rumors that he may go to Taiwan.
Reports indicated the Dalai Lama, who arrived in Japan on Thursday, might visit Taiwan en route to India, where he has been in exile since 1959, to meet outgoing Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.
The sources said the Dalai Lama had initially planned to stop in South Korea after Japan, but the trip was canceled by the inviting organization.
The last time the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan, in March 1997, Beijing, which views Taiwan and Tibet as parts of China, mounted a harsh rhetorical offensive.
After Tibetans staged a failed uprising against China in 1959, the Dalai Lama and thousands of his supporters fled to Dharamsala, India, where a government-in-exile was established. Tibet was occupied by China in 1950.
The Japanese government approved the issue of a visa to the 64-year-old Dalai Lama despite protests from China, which had warned that his visit would undermine bilateral relations.
The spiritual leader’s visit to Japan is at the invitation of Kyoto Seika University to celebrate the launch of its Department of Environmental and Social Studies. He is scheduled to give a number of sermons and lectures during his visit.