By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 11: Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday said that he wishes to visit Taiwan in 2021 if the Beijing government allows the visit. The Tibetan leader said as he has already received an invitation from an organization in Taiwan.
At the three-day virtual lecture to a group of his Asian followers, the Tibetan leader said he is likely to make a visit to Taiwan following his Singapore trip scheduled next year. During the virtual session, Dalai Lama told his followers that he cannot travel abroad at present due to the pandemic but hoped it would be possible next year. He further remarked that he might visit Singapore for a two-day visit in 2021 and said that he might also visit Taiwan “if Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, allows [him] to visit.”
The 85-year old had also expressed a similar wish earlier this year on the eve of his birthday, “As the political scenario changes, I may be able to visit Taiwan. I hope for that, but it is difficult to say this at this point in time.”
After the Nobel laureate made the comment, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Joanne Ou on Wednesday said that the island has many Buddhist followers who expects the Dalai Lama to visit the country again for a religious teaching whenever the travel restriction eases. “We will carefully discuss it if both parties consider it convenient and feasible,” Ou said.
The Dalai Lama first visited the island in 1997, and subsequently returned in 2001 and 2009. Since then, the octogenarian leader has not made any visits to Taiwan due to the increasing pressure from China, especially since President Xi Jinping rose to power. In July, the Parliament Group for Tibet led by the independent legislator Freddy Lim urged the Taiwanese government to maintain an open attitude towards the Dalai Lama visiting the country.