Tue, Jan 21, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Tibetan foundation marks new era in nation's diplomacy

CNA , TAIPEI

A quasi-official organization was inaugurated in Taipei yesterday to help boost Taiwan's engagement with the Tibetan government-in-exile.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) attended an inaugural ceremony for the Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation to underscore the importance he attaches to the organization.

Chen said the foundation is expected to serve as a conduit between the Taiwan government and the Tibetan government-in-exile in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala.

The foundation will send a delegation to Dharamsala in February to invite the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, to make a third visit to Taiwan later this year. The Dalai Lama visited Taiwan in 1997 and again last year.

Chen said his administration has managed to improve relations with Mongolia and Tibet over the past two years mainly because it no longer regards Mongolian people and exiled Tibetans as mainland Chinese citizens.

"When we stop considering Mongolians and Tibetans to be mainlanders, the problems we had before are resolved," Chen said in a speech delivered at the ceremony.

He added that the foundation will provide aid and other support to exiled Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama said in a letter read by his envoy, Tashi Wangdi, that he hopes the foundation will help "strengthen the bond" between Taiwan and the Tibetan people.

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