1. China established diplomatic relations with Mongolia on October 16, 1949. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations between the two countries. How do you think China and Mongolia can step up cooperation in 2014?
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Mongolia-China diplomatic relations and the 20years of the agreement on friendly relations and cooperation. On the occasion of these remarkable dates, the two sides declared the year 2014 as the Year of Mongolia-China Friendly Exchanges. In this spirit we have agreed to establish a plan of activities to be carried out throughout the year in all spheres of bilateral cooperation. The plan was signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries during my present visit.
Apart from reciprocal top and high-level visits, the plan provides for a broad range of activities to boost trade and economic collaboration, cultural and humanitarian exchanges and those of friendship associations as well as closer ties between cities and provinces. I am convinced that all these activities will make a real contribution to enriching the Mongolia-China strategic partnership relations with a new content and dimension. Here I would like to make an emphasis on a number of activities aimed to deepen mutual understanding between out nations and to promote children’s and youth exchanges. For instance, this year Mongolia will host business representatives and 100 children from Liaoning province as well as 60 young people through intergovernmental exchange channels. I believe that the reciprocal visits, meeting and activities which are reflected in the plan would make many ideas and initiatives true.
2. President Xi Jinping visited Mongolia in 2008 when he was the vice president. In an written speech released during the visit, Xi said China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors linked by land and rivers and the peoples of the two countries cherish a long-standing friendship. What role does the Sino-Mongolia relation plаy in Northeast Asia?
Mongolia has a great determination to enhance its role in international affairs and its participation in the regional multilateral cooperation. In this spirit, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj has forwarded an initiative “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue” which targets to reduce tension and build peace on the Korean Peninsula by means of talks and dialogue. The Mongolian President’s Initiative on Northeast Asian Security is a long-term goal aimed to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia through the creation of a mechanism of dialogue in the Northeast Asian region.
Northeast Asia has a great political and economic weight in the world. Today we see the situation in the region unstable. There are many problematic issues such as territorial disputes, nuclear weapons, missiles and so on. Besides, the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula have about reached a dead-lock. I think the talks are required in the region.
Although there are many mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, there is no such a cooperation mechanism aimed at Northeast Asia particularly.
Ulaanbaatar Dialogue is supposed to encompass primarily six Northeast Asian states including Russia, China, Mongolia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. However, we will be “open” and gradually move ahead recruiting step-by-step other states and subjects having direct concern to the regional security. We intend to use our relative advantages for building confidence with North Korea. The fact that China places a particular significance to the dialogue gives causes for optimism. China has a great weight in the economic development and security in Northeast Asia. Mongolia and China develop bilateral cooperation in two major directions. The first is to build peace and security in Northeast Asia and the second is to promote economic integration. In past years, Mongolia has taken tremendous efforts in this term. They have backed by China. I believe that we would preserve the tradition of active cooperation within international organizations and the region.
Despite the Northeast Asian nations are different in terms of political ideas, economic development, culture and custom, I think that we have to combine our efforts and initiatives to achieve our utmost goal to build peace and provide prosperity in the region.
Located in the OmnogoviAimag /province/ in the Southern Gobi Desert region of Mongolia, the Oyutolgoi copper/silver/gold mine is one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the world. Estimates of the total copper and gold reserves of the mine have reached 37 million tons and 46 million ounces respectively. Is Mongolia on the cusp of a mining boom?
The OyuTolgoi mining project is the largest financial undertaking in Mongolia’s history and will account for one-third of the economy once it becomes fully operational in 2019. But there are also concerns about the negative environmental and social impacts the mine will have. How does the Mongolia view the balance between economic growth and environmental protection?
In past ten more years, Mongolia has experienced a mining boom and worked on putting into the economic circulation its largest mining deposits which rank among world top by their reserves volume. Thereby our policy is targeted at developing the export-oriented, transparent and responsible mining. The mining industry’s growth, however, tends to retard due the decrease in prices of mining products on the world market, and the downturn in demand caused by the slowed down economic growth of China – the main market for our products. The weak domestic infrastructure is among these reasons as well. In the context of the state policy on mineral sector, mid- and long-term programs are worked out for every segment as “Gold”, “Spar”, “Cooper”, “Iron” and “Coal” with a wide participation of professional associations, entities, scholars and specialists.
The world countries direct their future development tendency at the creation of the economic system which utilizes any natural resources in the most effective way, promotes environment friendly production, and stands for the elimination of the social discrepancy. In this respect, Mongolia strives for maintaining ecological balance while providing its economic growth through the mineral exploration. We are deeply interested in cultivating cooperation with those companies which have gained international acknowledge for their high social responsibility and rich experience in environmental reclamation.
The government of Mongolia has focused a great deal on encouraging foreign investments and trade. Since the 1990s, China has become Mongolia’s biggest trading partners. China is also an important market of the Mongolian mineral resources. How do you view the economic ties between China and the Mongolia?
Mongolia and China are eternal neighbors, neighbors forever. Our relations and cooperation have strong complementary capacities. We possess huge resources and opportunities for collaboration. Our two countries maintain strategic partnership relations which are the superior of their kind. The establishment of the mid- and long-term program on the development of strategic partnership relations has a great importance for shaping the future guidelines and principles of bilateral cooperation.
Meantime, the sides are working on designing a mid-term program on bilateral trade and economic collaboration. These documents will play a crucial role in moving forward bilateral relations and economic cooperation, in particular, in well-elaborated and systematic manner. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has experienced intensive development in all spheres. Win-win principle has found its embodiment in largest projects the two sides are working on. In addition to these, regular reciprocal top visits are lending a remarkable impetus to the Mongolia-China cooperation. I see the future of bilateral cooperation brighter.
Mongolia has diplomatic relationship with 173 countries around the world and also in a good relationship with 130 countries for foreign trading.
On the diplomatic vision which Mongolian Parliament has renewed and approved in 2011, Mongolia’s foreign policy objectives reside in ensuring its independence and sovereignty by following the trends of human society’s advancement, maintaining friendly relations with all countries, strengthening its position in the international community and forming with influential countries in the region and in the world a network of relationships based on the inter dependence of political, economic and other interests.
Creating a good relationship including working on developing the cooperation with our two major neighbors; Russia and China and also developing the relationship with our3-rd neighbors such as the United States, Japan, EU, India, Korea and Turkey and aiming to create a well faired, friendly relationship with more countries around the world.
Our traditional diplomacy vision hasn’t changed and our idea for diplomacy in 2014 is to maintain the good diplomatic relationship assuring the security and inner development of our country andcollaborate with other countries around the world.
On November 21, 2005, George W.Bush became the first-ever sitting U.S. President to visit Mongolia. August, 2011, U.S. Vice president Joe Biden made the first visit by a sitting vice president to Mongolia. U.S. President Barrack Obama issued a statement on presidential election in Mongolia on June 27, 2013, the same day of the results of 2013 Mongolia presidential election was announced. How do you evaluate the relations between Mongolia and the United States? And how do you see the influence of US in the Northeast Asia and its “pivot to Asia” policy?
The relationsbetween Mongolia and the U.S. have been developing significantly in relatively short span of time given that the diplomatic relations was established in 1987. The U.S. has always been supportive of Mongolia’s transition to democracy from its very beginning. As clearly reflected in the Concept of Mongolian foreign policy, the first and foremost, it is to maintain and develop strategic relations with our two neighbors and secondly to develop third neighbor policy with other countries including the U.S., EU and other Asian developed countries. Therefore, the U.S. is one of our “third neighbors”. Mongolia and the U.S. are aiming to develop comprehensive partnership and cooperation which encompass strengthening of ties in various areas such as politics, security, economy and culture as well as at the multilateral level.
If you look at the statistics of 2012, the U.S. is our third biggest trade partner after China and Russia and our 8th largest investor. This is the evidence that the bilateral relations is enhancing not only in political and humanitarian sectors, but also in trade and economic sectors.
During the official visit of the President of Mongolia, H.E. TsakhiaElbegdorj, to the U.S and the visit of the U.S. Vice president, Joe Biden, to Mongolia in 2011, both parties underscored the importance of actively promoting the bilateral cooperation in economic sector and expressed their interests in collaborating to create an investment and business environment which enhances the cooperation for Mongolian and U.S. enterprises.
I wish to note that the U.S. Vice President Henry WalIace visited Mongolia in 1944. Therefore, the visit of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was the second visit.
Many Heads of State extended their congratulations on the successful organization of the Mongolian Presidential election in 2013 and the U.S. President Barack Obama was one of the firstto congratulate.
As the role and influence of Asian countries in the global economy is increasing significantly, the U.S. has shifted its focus to the Southeast Asian region and the aspect of relations with these countries has become one major component of its foreign policy.
Mongolia has always aimed to maintain and develop friendly relations with its two neighbors as well as other states of the region and has actively taken part in regional and international organizations and meetings focusing on politics, economy and security. It is of utmost importance for Mongolia that Asia, particularly the Northeast Asia is at peace with stability and security; and any misunderstanding or dispute should be resolved through peaceful means and diplomatic approach.
Phoenix TV interview questions:
1. What’s your agenda during your visiting in China?
My current visit is rich in content. It is worth to note official negotiations with my counterpart, Mr. Wang Yi. We have discussed a broad range of issues concerning bilateral relations in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas. We reviewed the current state of cooperation between the Foreign Ministries, focused on its further lines, and deliberately talked about policies and positions our countries adhere to towards international and regional cooperation issues. Furthermore, I am happy that I had a productive dialogue on mentioned issues with ………….
Besides, I visited the China Institute of International Studies where I gave a lecture on the foreign policy and foreign relations of Mongolia to politicians, international relations scholars, and Mongolists.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia is establishing a diplomatic academy. In view of this, I visited the Diplomatic Academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China where I got acquainted with its training activities. Many foreign embassies in Beijing are in charge of affairs with Mongolia. I met those Ambassadors to discuss issues of bilateral relations and cooperation and briefed on the foreign policy of Mongolia.
As a part of my visit, I worked in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region where I had a meeting with its authorities. Western provinces of Mongolia maintain constructive multilateral cooperation with Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Afterwards, I visited China-Kazakhstan border checkpoint Horgos and the coal gasification plant in Yining city.
I gave interviews to CCTV and Phoenix TV. Mongolian media representatives included in the delegation widely covered the present visit. Upon returning home, they will report on the course and outcomes of the visit to the Mongolian public.
2. How do you think current Mongolia and China’s relationship in terms of political, economic and cultural perspectives?
I am happy that the political confidence and mutual understanding between our countries have even more deepened and developed successfully at the level of strategic partnership.
Mongolia and China host on regular basis reciprocal visits on top and high-levels and witness intensive exchanges between parliaments and political parties as well as in the fields of defense, culture, education, science, health and in the humanitarian area. The dynamic development of strategic partnership relations with China for a long term is a priority course of the foreign policy of the Mongolian Government. Mongolia stands for and strives to reach development and prosperity along with China on mutually beneficial basis enriching thereby bilateral cooperation with a new content. Cooperation in the cultural sector plays a vital role in consolidating friendly ties between Mongolia and China and deepening mutual understanding between our nations. Mongolia and China have geographically neighboring adjacent location and have many commons in terms of culture. Therefore, I believe that there are wider dimensions and resources for cultural exchanges. Year by year, the cultural exchanges of our countries intensify. The Governments attaches greater importance to this. The Government of Mongolia plans a number of activities in the cultural sectors for coming years. For instance, we plan to renew a cultural plan between Ministries of Culture for 2014-2017 and to open the Mongolian Cultural center in Beijing with an aim to develop cultural ties systematically. This year we are celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The Government of Mongolia is placing a particular significance to the remarkable date. During the present visit, the Foreign Ministers signed a plan of activities for Mongolia-China Friendly Exchanges.
The document provides for a broad range of activities to boost trade and economic collaboration, cultural and humanitarian exchanges and those of friendship associations as well as closer ties between cities and provinces. I believe that all these activities will make a real contribution to enriching the Mongolia-China strategic partnership relations with a new content and dimension.
Do you have any expectation for the 2014 APEC forum in Beijing?
Being an Asia-Pacific country with a growing economy, Mongolia has an enduring aspiration to become a member of APEC, the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific. This is one of our foreign policy priorities.
It was back in 1993 when Mongolia made its official application for APEC membership.
Since then, Mongolia has made important strides, and now fulfills the APEC guidelines for the admission of additional members set out in its 1997 Ministerial Statement on Membership.
Mongolia is located in the Asia-Pacific region. It is landlocked between two APEC economies, China and Russia. The Pacific Ocean is Mongolia’s only gateway to sea. Mongolia’s being part of the Asia-Pacific region is not just a geographical, but also a political fact. It belongs to the Asia-Pacific regional group in all international fora and organizations, including the UN.
Equally important is that we actively participate in the major multilateral cooperation arrangements involving the Asia-Pacific region. We are a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), and an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We are also a full Member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), one of APEC’s three Official Observers. Mongolia has substantial and broad-based economic linkages with the existing APEC members. In particular, the value of Mongolia’s trade with APEC members, as a percentage of its international trade, is not just relatively high. It is overwhelmingly high. The APEC economies account for 89.5 per cent of Mongolia’s foreign trade turnover and 50.62 per cent of total FDI inflows to Mongolia since 1990. If we look at Mongolia’s exports, its main export partners are China, Canada and Russia. These 3 APEC economies make up 96.4 per cent of Mongolia’s total exports. The same is true for Mongolia’s imports. Our main import partners are Russia, China, US, Japan and the ROK. These 5 APEC economies account for 76.8 per cent of Mongolia’s total imports. The APEC economies also dominate FDI inflows to Mongolia. China, Singapore, Canada, ROK, US, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan are among our top 12 investment partners.
Mongolia will continue to supply commodities primarily to the APEC economies and will substantially increase the supply in the future. The above numbers make an overwhelming case for Mongolia’s membership in APEC. Those numbers will also grow further, as we are now expanding our rail and road networks to better connect to the APEC economies. This will also serve the broader goal of expanded trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition, Mongolia is planning to negotiate economic partnership agreements with many APEC economies on a step-by-step basis. Negotiations with Japan are already under way since 2012. As positive as the above developments are, many challenges persist. The need is stern to diversify Mongolia’s economy. A lot needs to be done to bring our economic development levels in line with those of the APEC economies. But what is important is that we are on the right path. We can best advance on this path as a member of APEC.
On our part, I can assure you that with its growing economy and friendly political relations with every single country in the Asia-Pacific region Mongolia would bring added value to APEC.
China supports and is willing to help us when Mongolia works as a member economy of ASEAN.
This year, our neighbor China will be the chair of ASEAN and we are very appreciating this situation.
At this economic unstable era, APEC member economy is in need to work tighteron matters,sharing the bright ideas altogether.
The APEC Forum which will be held in Beijing in November 2014,we have no doubt that it is going toworksuccessfully.
Do you have any further policy to keep building up Mongolia and China’s economic ties?
Mongolia and China are eternal neighbors. Our relations and cooperation have a strong complementary capacity and resources. In addition, we maintain strategic partnership relations which are considered the superior of their kind. The establishment of the mid- and long-term program on the development of strategic partnership relations has a great importance for shaping the future guidelines and principles of bilateral cooperation.
Meantime, the sides are working on designing a mid-term program on bilateral trade and economic collaboration. These documents will play a crucial role in moving forward bilateral relations and economic cooperation, in particular, in well-elaborated and systematic manner. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has witnessed intensive development in all spheres. Win-win principle has found its embodiment in largest projects the two sides are working on. In addition to these, regular reciprocal top visits are lending a remarkable impetus to the Mongolia-China cooperation. I see the future of bilateral cooperation brighter.