This is bound to piss of the Chinese:
HONG KONG — The president of Taiwan said Thursday that he would allow the Dalai Lama to visit the island next week, a move likely to infuriate China and jeopardize rapidly improving relations between Taipei and Beijing.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is expected to arrive Monday for a six-day tour of southern Taiwan, which was ravaged by a typhoon three weeks ago that left at least 650 dead.
The invitation to the Dalai Lama was extended by several local government leaders in the south and was seen by analysts in Taiwan as a political maneuver aimed to embarrass President Ma Ying-jeou, whose approval ratings have plummeted over what is widely seen as a slow response to the devastating typhoon.
The Chinese foreign ministry had no immediate comment Thursday about the visit. But political unrest in Tibet is a highly sensitive topic for mainland China, and Beijing has sharply criticized the Dalai Lama for promoting political autonomy in the region. His visits to other countries typically draw strong rebukes from China. Beijing withdrew from a European Union summit meeting last December when the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and other EU leaders said they planned to meet with the Dalai Lama.
“Beijing, of course, they probably have a different explanation, but for Taiwan, the Dalai Lama is visiting only in his capacity as a religious leader,” said David Chen, head of the government’s Liaison and Information Office in Taipei. “He’s coming to pray for the victims of the typhoon.”
Mr. Chen declined to comment when asked if Taipei had advised Beijing beforehand of its decision to allow the visit, but said, “We don’t think it’s going to be a factor in cross-straits relations.”