Beijing’s reaction to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan on Monday to hold prayer services for the victims of Typhoon Morakot was moderate, the Wall Street Journal reported. Despite Beijing’s objections to the trip, the Dalai Lama emphasized that his visit was not politically motivated. While praising Taiwan’s democracy and encouraging its maintenance, the Dalai Lama also said that Taiwan should have "very close and unique links with mainland China." In an effort to allay the controversy, he also shortened his stay and only held one press conference. He will not be meeting with Taiwan President Ma and other ruling party officials. Beijing, for its part, limited its criticism to the opposition party which invited the spiritual leader, accusing the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) of having ulterior motives. "The Dalai Lama’s visit to Taiwan is bound to have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan," said a spokesman for State Council Taiwan Affairs Office. At the same time, state media reported that Beijing and Taipei agreed Monday to increase weekly passenger flights between the mainland and Taiwan from 108 to 270.
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