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Ma: timing inappropriate for Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan
President Ma Ying-jeou says the timing is not good for Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to visit Taiwan.
"Certainly the Dalai Lma visited Taiwan twice as a religious leader. We generally welcome religious leaders from all over the world to visit Taiwan, but I think at the current moment, the timing isn't appropriate for that," said Ma.
Ma's comments at a press conference on Wednesday were met with a mixed response. While Kuomintang lawmakers have spoken out in support of the president, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been strongly critical. DPP legislator Lai Ching-der, said Thursday that his party welcomes a visit by the Dalai Lama.
"We ask the president to take back his decision not to welcome the Dalai Lama. [The president] should announce it immediately that [Taiwan] welcomes the Dalai Lama. The DPP caucus whip will make a proposal about that and we also hope that Legislature President Wang Jin-pyng will be impartial and allow the legislature to pass a resolution to welcome the Dalai Lama," said Lai.
Meanwhile, presidential office spokesperson Wang Yu-chi said the government has always been concerned about the situation in Tibet. However, Wang said that President Ma's decision is based on what's best for Taiwan.