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Taipei: Mrs. Tian Qiu Jin (DPP Legislator) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama are currently participating in an international seminar on Tibetan and Chinese relations, hosted by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mrs. Tian Qiu Jin has personally invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan's Orchid Island, where native Tao people wish to receive his blessing.

Mrs. Tian Qiu Jin issued a press release on 6 August, stating that she, on behalf of Taiwan in the pre-12 environmental groups, has extended a face-to-face invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that Tibetan-Taiwanese relations have become increasingly sensitive after this year's talks between the Koumintang (KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPC)-but nevertheless, he is always willing to visit Taiwan.

Mrs. Tian Qiu Jin said that if the Dalai Lama should wish to visit China, she would be willing to accompany His Holiness.  The leader stated that he is pleased to be invited to visit Taiwan if the opportunity arises. But whether

he visits Taiwan or not, he recognizes that both he and the people of Taiwan are concerned with the Earth's environment.

At a press conference, His Holiness the Dalai Lama repeated that he is willing to go to Taiwan at any time, but he also stated that, "the Taiwanese government had doubts about my visit." He said, "If there is no inconvenience to Taiwanese government, I have to visit Taiwan to do a good job of fully prepared."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama mentioned in a Tibetan-Chinese translation that he has previously visited Taiwan and met with Ma Ying-jeou, Taipei's mayor at the time. However, the closeness between the ruling KMT government and the Chinese Communists has changed the situation. His Holiness stated, "On the one hand, this relationship is beneficial to the improvement of Taiwan and China. On the other hand, it has also created new fear of unnecessary....conditions, such as if the Taiwan government have some worries about my visit. " He emphasized, "If there is no inconvenience to Taiwanese government, I have to visit Taiwan to do a good job of being fully prepared."

On the topic of Beijing's position, he said he had high hopes when the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Chinese Communists resumed contact in 2002, but "My hopes are now becoming smaller and smaller."

He stated with a laugh, "Taiwan and Tibet are in a very harsh position under the Chinese teacher's pointer, but these two students can still interact sometimes." He said that China is now, with "eyes closed", doing a bad thing.

Dalai Lama said that he visits Taiwan for two purposes: first of all, because there are many Buddhists in Taiwan, so he has a responsibility to preach to his followers in Taiwan; secondly, Taiwan is a Chinese society, so if cannot go to mainland China, contacts and exchanges between Taiwan and the Chinese are very important.

He also mentioned in English, laughing, that because some of the people of Taiwan (Taiwanese) do not think they are the people of China (Chinese), he agreed substitute "Chinese" for "the people of China".

News report was edited by Ms Amy Elmgren and Yangjam, The Tibet Post International.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com