April 4, 2000 --- A Punch on the Nose of the Chinese Leaders
Punch on the Nose of the Chinese Leaders
4, 2000 ---
In an interview with the Taipei-based Liberty Times in Dharamsala, seat of the exiled government, Kalon Sonam Topgyal, chairman of Kashag --- the regime’s Cabinet --- said he would attend as long as he received an invitation from Chen.
Sonam Topgyal hailed the result of the polls, saying “the choice of the candidate China most loathed was a punch on the nose of the Chinese leaders.”
But You Shyi-kun, the Democratic Progressive Party’s secretary general, was cautious yesterday when asked if Chen would risk angering Beijing by inviting the Tibetan official.
“The list of foreign guests has yet to be worked out,” You told AFP.
Sonam Topgyal told the newspaper that Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had planned to visit Taiwan immediately following the elections in a move “which would leave opponents entirely unprepared.”
Some Cabinet members with the Tibetan exiled government opposed the trip, citing security reasons.
In 1997, the Dalai Lama made his historic visit to Taiwan, where he met President Lee Teng-hui. Beijing heaped vitriol on the meeting, saying it was part of concerted efforts to split Taiwan and Tibet from the “motherland.”
The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet to India in 1959 after a failed uprising, unveiled a “middle path” policy in 1988 in which he declared his willingness to settle for partial autonomy in place of full independence.
Beijing initially said it was willing to talk with the exiled Tibetan government but later hardened its stand, saying dialogue was only possible if the Dalai Lama publicly declared Tibet, and also Taiwan, was an inalienable part of China.