Relations with China going full steam ahead 2017-05-19 11:51

In recent months, there have been a number of significant visits and dialogues between Mongolia and China in the spheres of politics, science and economics.

On April 26, a meeting of the Cooperation Council between Mongolia and China for mineral resources, energy and infrastructure was held. Attended by over 50 officials, the meeting agenda covered a wide range of topics, including several projects to be implemented in Mongolia. In addition, the Mongolian administration on May 2 backed the draft of a memorandum of understanding to coordinate Mongolia’s “Steppe Road” initiative with China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Furthermore, a Mongolian delegation headed by PM J.Erdenebat attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing on May 14-15, during which 21 memoranda of understanding (MoU) and agreements were signed.

Also in early May, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Bai Chunli came to Mongolia at the invitation of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The meeting resulted in the sides agreeing to implement a program enabling young Mongolian scientists to gain experience in Chinese institutions. The two countries’ academies of science are also currently working on signing an MoU on the establishment of a Science Park and Innovation Infrastructure. The exchange also noted its economic significance. "We have been discussing the issues of joint research on desertification and permafrost and production of liquid fuel and coal gasification, the biggest global challenges and issues," informed the President of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

More recently, Member of Parliament and Mongolian Minister of Justice and Home Affairs S.Byambatsogt paid a working visit to China on May 8-12, resulting in the signing of a cooperation plan for 2017-2021 with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, concerning law enforcement areas such as cross-border organized crime, including drug and human trafficking and money laundering.

In the private sector, the Business Council of Mongolia is organizing the 2nd annual BCM Summit under the theme “Regional Connectivity in Asia.” A recent report by the Asian Development Bank highlighted that Asia will need USD 26 trillion in investment from 2017 to 2030, with the greatest amount needed for energy and transportation development. In 2015, the presidents of Mongolia, Russia and China signed an agreement on the development of an economic corridor between the three countries by implementing joint projects in order to boost trade, ensure competitiveness in supply of goods, facilitate cross-border transportation  and develop infrastructure. The BCM Summit will gather leaders around the region in Ulaanbaatar to organize a platform for discussion and prospects in the all the above.

These events signal the significance Mongolia gives to expanding bilateral relations with China, which experienced a political dip during the Dalai Lama affair in late 2016. However, it seems today the debacle has been forgotten, with cooperation in nearly every sphere of economics and bilateral relations steaming forward.