China Opposes Dalai Lama Visit To Taiwan, Official Says

(CNN) — China “resolutely opposes” a planned trip by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Thursday, hours after Taiwan’s president announced the visit.

Beijing opposes the visit “in whatever form and capacity,” a spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said, according to Xinhua, which did not name the spokesman. “Under the pretext of religion, (the Dalai Lama) has all along been engaged in separatist activities,” he said.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said earlier Thursday that he had approved a visit by the Dalai Lama to pray for the victims of the typhoon-battered island.

Ma made the announcement Thursday while visiting a school in the southern part of the country, a government spokesman said. The Dalai Lama has accepted the invitation, his spokesman Tenzin Taklha said.

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