CHINA> Taiwan, HK, Macao
Taiwan to smooth over Dalai's visit
By Xie Yu in Beijing and Cao Li in Shanghai (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-01 08:09

Taiwan to smooth over Dalai's visit
Taiwan aborigines display a banner reading "denounce the Dalai" yesterday outside the hotel where the Dalai Lama is staying in Tsaoying, part of the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. [AFP] 

Taipei Monday appealed for the mainland's understanding of the Dalai Lama's visit to the island after Beijing warned of a "negative influence" brought by the trip to bilateral ties.

Liu Te-shun, deputy head of the island's "mainland affairs council", said in Taipei that "related departments will try their best" to communicate with the mainland over the visit.

"The government will do its best to protect and promote the trust and fruits achieved by both sides," he said, adding that he hopes the trip will not affect the stable development of cross-Straits relations.

Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reported Monday that Lee Jian-rong, chief of the public relations department of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), was sent to Beijing last Thursday to explain the issue.

Taipei took the move after the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Sunday that it "resolutely opposes" the visit.

"The Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan is bound to have a negative influence on relations between the mainland and Taiwan," the office said in a statement.

"We resolutely oppose this, and our position is firm and clear. We will keep a close eye on the situation."

Taiwan media are concerned that the trip could influence cross-Straits cooperation and postpone the signing of the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, which Taiwan urgently needs to boost its economy.

Taipei-based United Daily reported officials from the "ministry of finance" had expressed their concerns about any political effects the Dalai Lama's trip will have on bilateral economic and financial exchanges.

Although the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which initiated the visit, said the trip was only based on religious purposes, it has been widely criticized for its political manipulation.

KMT officials said Monday that leading members of the KMT have no plans to meet the Dalai Lama, AFP reported.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, who met the Dalai Lama during each of his two previous trips to the island, has no meeting scheduled this time around, his spokesman said Monday.

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Taiwan media said the "cold treatment" from the ruling party aims to limit the political influence of the trip.

The Dalai Lama canceled a press conference due to be held Monday morning.

Hsu Li-Ming, news department director of Kaohsiung, told China Daily that the schedule of the Dalai Lama's six-day trip is still not clear. Earlier reports said he would be making a speech today, but Hsu said he could not confirm it would be held as scheduled.

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