Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil on Thursday said the government will not invite exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to the country again, Reuters reported. His statement follows China’s protest against the Buddhist leader’s visit to Mongolia, which included postponing meetings with Mongolian officials, cancelling flights between the two countries and hiking fees on shipments. Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who sought refuge in India after a failed uprising in 1959, a separatist leader.

Speaking to local newspaper Unuudur, Munkh-Orgil said, “Under this current government, the Dalai Lama will not be invited to Mongolia, even for religious reasons.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing “attached great importance” to his clear stance.

She said China “hopes the Mongolian side can really learn the lessons from this incident, earnestly respect China’s core interests, and work hard to promote the improvement of China-Mongolia ties.”

The Mongolian government had earlier dismissed reports of any political significance to the Buddhist leader’s visit, while stating that he had been invited by Mongolian Buddhists.

Earlier this month, Beijing expressed displeasure over the Dalai Lama’s presence at a conference held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi. China had urged India to denounce the Dalai Lama as a “separatist in religious guise”. In October, China had said the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to Arunachal Pradesh in March 2017 would hamper Sino-Indian relations.