President Kim Dae-Jung
Dear President Kim,
I am writing to urge your government to allow the planned visit of the Dalai Lama to South Korea this coming November.
Although the Dalai Lama has been invited to South Korea by private citizens rather than by the Korean government, we understand that your government has come under diplomatic pressure from the Chinese government to refuse him entry to the country. According to published reports, such pressure has led the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to urge the sponsor of the visit, a private group of citizens calling itself the "Preparation Committee for the Dalai Lama's Visit," to rescind its invitation.
Political pressures of this kind are not new. Prior to the Dalai Lama's visit to Japan in April, Chinese authorities reportedly threatened that bilateral relations between the two countries would suffer if the visit took place as scheduled. Japan held firm, and the visit went ahead. We know that, from China's standpoint, the Dalai Lama is a controversial figure. Such considerations should not cause your government to sacrifice principle or violate internationally recognized human rights standards.
You have a well-deserved reputation as a leader committed to the free exchange of ideas and freedom of thought, conscience, and belief. We believe that government interference with the visit would constitute a significant step backward for your administration and for South Korea.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.