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Taiwan visit is 'non-political': Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama said on Sunday before flying to Taiwan that his visit, which has angered China, was strictly non-political and a "moral responsibility" after a massive typhoon devastated the island.

world Updated: Aug 30, 2009 18:59 IST

The Dalai Lama said on Sunday before flying to Taiwan that his visit, which has angered China, was strictly non-political and a "moral responsibility" after a massive typhoon devastated the island.

"I'm very, very strict, (the trip is of a) non-political nature," the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said in footage shown by Taiwan's TVBS cable news channel, shortly before leaving New Delhi for his five-day visit.

"They expressed a wish, you see, for my presence... They asked me. It is my moral responsibility to accept to go there," he said.

The Dalai Lama was scheduled to arrive in Taiwan late Sunday and spend most of his time visiting areas hit hard by Typhoon Morakot, which left at least 571 people dead earlier in August.

China voiced its "resolute opposition" to the Dalai Lama's visit, his third to Taiwan, after it was confirmed last week. Beijing says the spiritual leader is bent on splitting his Himalayan homeland apart from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama was invited to Taiwan by members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which favours formal independence for the island from China.