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[Editorial]A Country Were Dalai Lama is not Wlcomed

Posted June. 19, 2001 11:16,   


It is regrettable to see another failure to invite Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to Korea.

The Preparation Committee for Dalai Lama’s visit to Korea said on 17th, ``Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) informed that they cannot approve the visit of Dalai Lama which had scheduled in July.`` They made it clear saying, ``we will never go ahead with the plan under Kim Dae-Jung administration.`` The committee has been promoting the visit of the religious leader for the third times since last year.

It has been known that the MFAT looks for an excuse for disapproval against the visit saying that under the current situation in which our prime minister visits China, it does not make sense to approve the visit of Dalai Lama due to the diplomatic convention.

The noncommittal attitude of the MFAT cannot be understood in which they have repeatedly changed their attitude from negative to positive. While recently they were showing a positive attitude, they have since changed it again.

Han Seung-Su, the Minister of the MFAT, who was visiting China last month, indicated approval of Dalai Lama’s visit saying, ``there is freedom to select a religion in Korea. It is difficult for the government to block civilian activities.``

Traveling all around world, Dalai Lama, the winner of 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, is making his every effort to preach spirituality to people of this modern society in which the materialism dominates.

So far, he has visited about 50 countries and recently, he has been in Taiwan and U.S. He also visited Japan, a country that maintains a strained relationship with China, about 10 times.

His frequent visits to the foreign countries are practiced as a religious leader of Tibet, not as a political reader. His invitation was also a civilian level activity. His schedule was comprised of cultural and religious events.

Under these circumstances, the reason for the disapproval is that the government has been feeling unnecessarily reserved toward China. China had demanded Korea not to allow the visit of Dalai Lama saying that he is a separatist who had provoked the division of China disguising as a religious leader.

Of course, for the government who should weigh the economic and diplomatic scale, there may be some difficulty in rejecting China’s demand. It may be acceptable to see that kind of attitude of the government since Korean economy largely rely on trades with China and it is also time when we need China’s support in the North-South relationship.

Nevertheless, it is regretful that Korea has such a limited capacity to embrace the cultural value or the spirituality. When committed to only the visible economic benefits and underestimating the spiritual aspect, Korea may be evaluated as a country without cultural backbone by international society. Korea is for certain, beyond this category of derogative evaluation.