The Taiwan government said on Friday that it has allowed Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit the island to comfort survivors of a typhoon, a decision that will not go down well with their neighbours, China.
Beijing considers the exiled Tibetan leader as a seperatist for demanding autonomy in Tibet. This visit could undermine the improving relations between Beijing and Taipei, rivals which are developing close ties after decades of hostility.
China claims self-governing Taiwan is a part of its territory, though they split amid a bloody civil war in 1949. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou made the announcement on Friday when he visited a school in Nantou that was destroyed in mudslides triggered by typhoon Morakot , which claimed 670 lives.
Ma said the Dalai Lama's visit would help rest the souls of the dead.