RELIGION

Dalai Lama preaches in Mongolia, risking China's fury

  • Dalai Lama, center, waves as he arrives at the Janraiseg temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery to greet Mongolian people in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)

    Dalai Lama, center, waves as he arrives at the Janraiseg temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery to greet Mongolian people in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dalai Lama speaks at the Janraiseg temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)

    Dalai Lama speaks at the Janraiseg temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Dalai Lama, left, speaks at the Janraiseg Temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. The Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)

    The Dalai Lama, left, speaks at the Janraiseg Temple of Gandantegchinlen monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. The Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters Saturday in Mongolia on a visit set to test the country's ties with its powerful neighbor, China. (AP Photo/ Ganbat Namjilsangarav)  (The Associated Press)

The Dalai Lama has preached to thousands of supporters in Mongolia, on a visit set to test the country's ties with China, its powerful neighbor.

It was the first appearance in five years in the heavily Buddhist country for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who Beijing has condemned as a separatist. Saturday's visit comes as Mongolian leaders are seeking a $4.2 billion loan from Beijing to pull it out of a deep recession.

China's Foreign Ministry strongly urged Mongolia on Friday to deny the Dalai Lama a visit for the sake of a "sound and steady" development of bilateral ties.

Mongolia Buddhism is closely tied to Tibet's strain and traditionally reveres the Dalai Lama, who made his first visit to the country in 1979.