Mongolia pledges to halt visits by the Dalai Lama
Tibetan spiritual leader’s trip to Mongolia last month angered the authorities in Beijing
Mongolia’s government pledged to extend no more invitations to the Dalai Lama after China signalled that a trip last month by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader could derail ties.
“The Dalai Lama’s visit by the invitation of Gandan Monastery negatively affected two countries and these two countries have a misunderstanding,” Mongolian Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend told the Onoodor newspaper on Wednesday. “The government feels sorry for this,” he said, adding that the Dalai Lama “probably won’t be visiting Mongolia again during this administration”.
The Mongolian foreign ministry declined to provide further information when asked about the minister’s comments.
China called off talks with Mongolian senior officials after the Dalai Lama’s four-day visit to Ulan Bator last month. Mongolia has been seeking soft loans from sources including China and the International Monetary Fund as it struggles with a US$1 billion budget gap and looming debt repayments.
A traditionally Buddhist nation that has deep historical ties to Tibet, Mongolia has hosted the current Dalai several times since 1979.
Past visits have been met with reprisals from Beijing, which considers the Dalai Lama to be a separatist leader and routinely condemns nations that give him a platform to speak.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing on Wednesday in Beijing that China “attaches great importance to the explicit statement made by the Mongolian foreign minister”.
“China’s stand on Tibet-related issues is firm and clear,” Hua said. “We hope that Mongolia will truly learn lessons from this incident, truly respect the core interests of China, honour its promise and make efforts to improve the relations between China and Mongolia.”