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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

China scraps events over Dalai Lama visit to Taiwan

The aftermath has arrived, China was bound to be heavy-handed, albeit its earlier composed mannner (see previous post) - and went ahead to cancel and postpone important markers of 'improving' cooperation. Cross-strait relations have been getting better for a while now, and has been the centerpiece/hallmark of the current Taiwanese leadership. What happens when this emblem of their work fails?

The NY Times in fact, argue that the visit by the Dalai Lama was always only going to compound the Taiwanese leadership problems, and discusses the Taiwanese leadership's headaches; it was not a clear-cut call to make. Go here for article.


China scraps events
Tension over Dalai Lama
Source - Straits Times, 01 September 2009

TAIPEI - CHINA has canceled or postponed several events meant to underscore improving relations with Taiwan, apparently to show anger over the Dalai Lama's visit to the island, Taiwan's governing party said on Tuesday.

The visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader - aimed at offering comfort to the victims of Typhoon Morakot - has created the most serious challenge for relations between the democratic island and the communist mainland since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office 15 months ago on a platform of ending 60 years of hostility.

China has canceled or postponed the planned Taiwan visits of at least two important delegations, and nixed ceremonies meant to mark the expansion of direct air service between the sides, said Nationalist Party spokesman Chen Shu-rong said on Tuesday.

Beijing already had announced that its delegation will not take part in Saturday's opening of the Deaf Olympics in Taipei.

The Chinese moves follow Sunday's statement from the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office that the Dalai Lama's visit 'is bound to have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan.'

Speaking to The Associated Press, Ms Chen said the cancellations appeared linked to the Taiwan visit of the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing reviles as a 'splittist' because he allegedly seeks independence for his native Tibet.

Ms Chen declined on Tuesday to comment on news reports that the party sent an emissary to China last week to seek its understanding on the visit, but acknowledged that it is using its normal channels of communications with the Communists to try to mitigate Beijing's anger.

'We have continued to keep up our contact,' she said.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949. Beijing regards the island as part of its territory and routinely condemns any interference in its affairs from outside parties. -- AP