The Dalai Lama has expressed an interest in visiting US President-elect Donald Trump, who he says will likely align his future policies with global realities. It is a meeting that would not go down well in Beijing.
Speaking during a visit to Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said he had "no worries" about Trump's election and that he had always considered the US a "leading nation of the free world."
"Sometimes I feel during the election the candidate has more freedom to express," the Dalai Lama said. "Once elected, having the responsibility, then they have to tell you their sort of vision, their works according to reality."
"I think there are some problems to go to the US, so I will go to see the new president," he told reporters. It was not immediately clear if a meeting between the two has been planned.
US President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House in June despite a warning by China that it would damage diplomatic relations.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Dalai Lama traveled the globe seeking audiences with foreign leaders with the goal of damaging their relations with China, which views the Nobel Peace Prize-winning monk as a dangerous separatist.
"We hope the international community can further see clearly the anti-China, separatist essence of the Dalai Lama, and appropriately and cautiously handle Tibet-related issues," Geng told a daily news briefing.
China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist. He has said he seeks autonomy for his Himalayan homeland, which Communist Chinese troops "peacefully liberated" in 1950.
The government will have nothing to do with a trip, which would be arranged by Mongolian Buddhists, Mongolia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement to the Montsame news agency.
After the Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia in 2006, China briefly canceled flights between Beijing and Ulaanbaatar.
Climate change, deal breaker?
Asked to comment on climate change, which Trump had called hoax but more recently said showed "some connectivity" to post-industrial human activity - the Dalai Lama said he was pleased by a global turn towards alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power.
"I think ... we must now concentrate on these things. I don't know whether we can reduce cars or not. People everywhere busy, busy. I don't know if it will be possible to re-introduce by walk," he said.
jbh/sms (Reuters, AP)