The Dalai Lama has said his plans to visit Taiwan prove he is no longer seeking Tibetan independence, a Taiwan newspaper has reported. The remarks, made during an interview with the United Daily News at the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India, were published yesterday. The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet said his planned Taiwan trip would demonstrate he holds no ill feelings towards the Chinese people. He also jokingly said he might stay permanently if he likes the island, the paper reported. 'Many people have always thought we Tibetans are against Chinese. This is not correct,' the paper quoted the Dalai Lama as saying. 'I must say again clearly, we are opposing the communist Chinese Government, not Chinese people or Chinese culture,' he said. 'This trip will also clearly prove I have given up seeking Tibetan independence,' he said. 'Because Taiwan recognises Tibet as a part of China, so if I go to Taiwan, that shows I agree with this kind of position.' The Dalai Lama said he might visit Taiwan as early as March if an advance team soon to be dispatched to the island manages to set an itinerary for him. The trip would be 'a purely religious visit', he told the newspaper. The Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan is expected to provoke sharp criticism from Beijing. Leaders in Taiwan, whose Government still claims Tibet is a part of the Republic of China, have said the Dalai Lama is welcome to visit, but only in his capacity as a religious leader.