Mongolia buckles to Chinese pressure over Dalai Lama visit

Mongolia, which played a pivotal role in establishing the institution of the Dalai Lama centuries ago, is giving the present Dalai Lama, the cold shoulder.

According to commentators, remarks by the country's foreign minister last month were the latest sign that Mongolia had buckled under pressure from China over the contentious issue of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Bloomberg News reported the minister, Tsend Munkh-Orgil, told Onoodor newspaper that the government ''feels sorry'' for allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Mongolia in November and that the Dalai Lama ''probably won't be visiting Mongolia again during this administration.'' The Associated Press said the remarks were confirmed by the foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, The Diplomat pointed out that the Dalai Lama's visit was not a China-Mongolia bilateral issue and was Mongolia's internal, domestic issue, concerning the people's rights under its Constitution. In accordance with the Mongolia's constitutional rights, citizens of Mongolia, particularly those who believed in Buddhism, had the rights to accept, allow, and appreciate the visit of His Holiness. The Dalai Lama visit was at the invitation of the Center of Mongolian Buddhism, the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, and was accepted by the people.

According to The Diplomat, the antagonistic language released by China's foreign ministry had put a ''damper on people-to-people affairs.''