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Seoul Rejects Dalai Lama's Third Attempt To Visit South Korea

by Windsor Genova AHN, November 2, 2007

Seoul, South Korea -- Tibet's spiritual leader won't be able to meet South Korea's religious community, which invited him to visit the country.

The government refused to accept the Dalai Lama's application for a visa as his visit will strain South Korea's relations with China, which regards the figure as a symbol of the Tibetan separatist movement.

According to Korea Times, it was the third time that Seoul prevented the Dalai Lama from visiting the country. The government also refused the Dalai Lama's visa applications in 2000 and 2001.

The Foreign Ministry notified the Buddhist Solidarity for Reform group that the visit will not be allowed. The nationwide Buddhist group and Christian groups in South Korea have invited the Dalai Lama to visit the country as a symbol of global peace, particularly the easing of tensions between the country and its neighbor North Korea.

Political analysts believe that Seoul fears earning the ire of Beijing, which accused the exiled Tibetan leader of instigating Tibetans to seek independence from China. By allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the country, South Korea also risks losing China's support in dismantling North Korea's nuclear arms program and in bringing Korean War era defectors home.

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