Dalai Lama Mon­go­lia visit will ‘test’ China

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The Dalai Lama preached to thou­sands of sup­port­ers in Mon­go­lia yes­ter­day, on a visit set to test the coun­try’s ties with China at a time when it is seek­ing a crit­i­cal aid pack­age from its pow­er­ful neigh­bour. The ex­iled Ti­betan spir­i­tual leader ad­dressed fol­low­ers at the Gan­dan­tegchen­lin monastery and spoke about ma­te­ri­al­ism to kick-start a four-day visit that Mon­go­lia has said will be purely re­li­gious in na­ture and won’t in­clude meet­ings with of­fi­cials. Still, the trip could have reper­cus­sions for land-locked Mon­go­lia’s re­la­tion­ship with China, which briefly closed its bor­der with Mon­go­lia in 2002 to protest a visit by the Dalai Lama. China views the Dalai Lama as a sep­a­ratist seek­ing to split Ti­bet from China and strongly op­poses all coun­tries from host­ing the monk. On Fri­day, China’s For­eign Min­istry strongly urged Mon­go­lia to deny the visit for the sake of a “sound and steady” devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral ties. The Dalai Lama’s visit comes at a time when Mon­go­lian lead­ers are seek­ing a $4.2 bil­lion loan from Bei­jing to pull the coun­try out of a deep re­ces­sion. Mon­go­lian re­li­gious fig­ures say the visit could be the last for the 81-year-old spir­i­tual leader, and some of his fol­low­ers trav­elled hun­dreds of miles to see him.

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL: The Dalai Lama in Mon­go­lia

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