JIA SHI'AN, Taiwan, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Dalai Lama says he's visiting Taiwan to support typhoon victims with his prayers, not for political reasons.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, in a Sunday interview with CNN, disputed claims by Beijing he has a political agenda in the hard-hit island nation, noting that he would not meet with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.
"As soon as I received the invitation, I know there's some complications maybe," the Dalai Lama told CNN. "But it is my sort of moral responsibility to come and to see, show my face, to those people who are passing through a difficult period."
CNN said the Dalai Lama spent the day in southern Taiwan meeting with survivors of Typhoon Morakot, which caused heavy flooding that killed more than 500 people when it struck Aug. 8.
"As a Buddhist monk, it is my moral principle to go there, see them and at least share some of their sorrow, some of their sadness," he said.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese officials as saying Beijing maintains "resolute opposition" to the Dalai Lama's visit, which it predicts will "have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan."