11/26/2016, 14.05
CHINA - MONGOLIA
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Beijing cancels bilateral meetings with Mongolia following Dalai Lama visit

Biannual parliamentarians advisory summit also cancelled; Mongolian Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing also in question. A blow to the economy of Mongolia, which counts on Chinese loans and investment. Ulaan Baatar: the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader of "religious nature", the government "did not have any role."

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has "indefinitely" postponed bilateral meetings scheduled with Mongolia, in retaliation for a recent visit to Mongolia by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

Beijing canceled suddenly, and without setting a new date, the two round of talks scheduled next week with the leaders of Ulaan Baatar. A blow to the local government, which counts on Chinese investment and credit to revivie the fragile domestic economy.

Following the declaration of a state of economic crisis last August, the Mongolian government is looking for funding to revive the country. Hence the request of loans advanced to China and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In 2016, the budget deficit doubled to one billion dollars, compared to a GDP (gross domestic product) falling by 1.6% in the first nine months of the year.

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil Tsend had explained that the talks with Beijing representatives were focused on 'soft loans, on the railway project of Tavan Tolgoi, a copper mine and a coal gasification plan ". However, he added, the Chinese side has canceled events by stating that "the Dalai [Lama] visit was unacceptable".

The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism visited Mongolia November 18 to 21; in the context of the trip, he traveled in key places of the Buddhist culture of the country. Moreover, Mongolia is a traditionally Buddhist majority nation and, since 1979, has hosted the Dalai Lama on several occasions.

Once again, as in the past, China had asked Mongolia not to allow the Dalai Lama to enter the country, so as not to "undermine" relations between the two states. Beijing sees the Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist leader, and often uses the economic and commercial weapons to exert pressure on foreign governments, especially if - as with Ulaan Baatar – they depend on Chinese aid.

In fact the visit of the Dalai Lama was "only religious in nature," the minister added Munkh-Orgil Tsend, added that it was organized by the Gandan Monastery and the government "had no role" in the invitation.

The Chinese government has also canceled a semi-annual consultative meeting between parliamentarians of the two countries and they stopped the preparatory work for the Mongolian premier, Erdenebat Jargaltulga’s visit scheduled for next year. A journey that, at this point, appears in major doubt.

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