The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that it would welcome a visit by the Dalai Lama, but that it might be difficult given the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dalai Lama on Sunday said that he is hoping to visit Taiwan next year “if Beijing allows.”
He made the comments in India at the end of a three-day televised Buddhism teaching session to a group of Asian followers.
Near the end of the lecture, a moderator thanked the exiled spiritual leader for his teaching, while expressing the hope that it would be possible to visit him again soon.
The Dalai Lama replied that at present, he cannot travel abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he hopes that it would be possible next year.
He said he might visit Singapore for two days next year, and from there proceed to Taiwan, where people have invited him, too, “if Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, allows me to visit Taiwan.”
The Dalai Lama visited Taiwan in 1997, 2001 and 2009, but has not done so since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) first took office in 2016.
Asked about the matter, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that Taiwan would welcome a visit by the internationally renowned spiritual leader, who has many followers in Taiwan.
However, the government has not received an application for him to visit the country and given the ongoing pandemic, which makes cross-border travel difficult, the government would welcome him to visit “at a time convenient for both sides.”
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