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Dalai Lama urged to keep politics out during visit

Taiwan officials said Sunday that they hope the Dalai Lama will stay clear of politics during his visit to comfort victims of Typhoon Morakot.

As the Dalai Lama arrived in the island late Sunday, more than 10 Taiwan political organizations denounced the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for inviting him, calling the move "unethical" and "politically motivated".

Seven Taiwan mayors and county chiefs from the DPP last Wednesday invited the Dalai Lama to join religious activities for victims of the typhoon.

Taiwan allowed the Dalai Lama to visit in 1997 and 2001.

Morakot, the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan in 50 years, has claimed at least 461 lives and left 192 missing and 46 injured, Taiwan's disaster response authorities said.

"We believe the Dalai Lama will have the wisdom to distinguish between religious empathy and political maneuvering," Wu Poh-hsiung, chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), told reporters Sunday.

"Because Taiwan has been badly hit by the typhoon, his visit should help the island instead of adding difficulty to it."

Wu said he sought input from Beijing about the visit, but he did not give details or say whether Beijing responded.

"Communication between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland has remained smooth to ensure continuity of cross-Straits ties," he said.

Taiwan authorities, including Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, have said that they will not meet the Dalai Lama publicly or privately.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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