President Khurelsukh's state visit adds great significance to Mongolia-China ties
Updated 12:59, 06-Dec-2022
Tuvshin Badral

President Khurelsukh's state visit adds great significance to Mongolia-China ties.mp3

President Khurelsukh's state visit adds great significance to Mongolia-China ties

Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Tuvshin Badral is the Ambassador of Mongolia to China. The article reflects the author's views and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Foreign leaders and delegations from around the world are visiting China in succession since the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China concluded in October. 

Mongolian President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh paid a state visit to China from November 27 to 28, 2022 and it was the first visit by him to China since he assumed office in June 2021.

This important state visit reflected a continuation of the friendly tradition of high-level contacts between the two sides and the high-level development of the comprehensive strategic partnership. During the visit, the two sides issued a Joint Statement on Advancing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the New Era between Mongolia and the People's Republic of China.

China pursues friendship and partnership with its neighboring countries and attaches great importance to growing the friendship, mutual trust and common interests with Mongolia. Therefore, Mongolia highly appreciates the fact that China values its relations with neighboring countries and shares its development opportunities with them based on the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness.

As eternal neighbors connected by mountains and rivers, Mongolia and China are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. The two sides have rendered each other support and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and jointly responded to global challenges, becoming a vivid example of "a friend in need is a friend indeed." It is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples to maintain long-term and stable relations of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation. 

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the heads of state, government, and legislative bodies of the two countries have had in-person meetings in 2022, which fully reflects the high level of bilateral relations. High-level political trust is the basis on which Mongolia-China cooperation prospers and it has created favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation, which will further strengthen as a result of the high-level meetings held during the visit.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue to convert friendly political relations into an impetus of cooperation, bridge the development initiatives of the two countries and expand cooperation on trade, investment, finance, minerals and energy, infrastructure, digital economy and green development. 

Moreover, exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields have made solid progress in recent years, setting a fine example of state-to-state relations. 

As an Ambassador of Mongolia to China, I am pleased to note that Mongolia and China are committed to further expanding practical cooperation.

China has been Mongolia's top investment source and trade partner for almost two decades. China's market, capital and technology are highly complementary to Mongolia's resource advantages and the two countries also have great potential to enhance cooperation by aligning development policy documents such as Mongolia's Development Road Initiative and China's the Belt and Road Initiative, Mongolia's New Recovery Policy and China's Global Development Initiative, and Mongolia's "Vision-2050" long-term development policy and China's two-step development strategy. These will deepen the Mongolia-China relationship and provide strong impetus to its growth. 

The joint statement set the goal of raising the bilateral annual trade volume to $20 billion at an early date and expand trade in coal, iron ore and agricultural products. In this frame, both sides agreed to support enterprises in the two countries to expand coal, iron ore, and agricultural products in accordance with market principles and business rules, and support the signing of medium and long-term trade agreements for coal between the two countries. We aim to increase Mongolia's export of coal to 40-70 million tons per year.

The two parties also agreed to work towards an early opening of new connectivity channels, and actively promote the construction of a cross-border railway. The joint development with China Railway Network enables Mongolia to emerge in the market supply of trade flow and stabilizing China's core goods like coal, which is a key area with potential, and the two parties will continue to seek a stronger trade momentum for trade flows.

A square decorated with oversized Russian Matryoshka dolls in Manzhouli, a China-Mongolia-Russia border port city, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, September 7, 2018. /Xinhua
A square decorated with oversized Russian Matryoshka dolls in Manzhouli, a China-Mongolia-Russia border port city, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, September 7, 2018. /Xinhua

A square decorated with oversized Russian Matryoshka dolls in Manzhouli, a China-Mongolia-Russia border port city, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, September 7, 2018. /Xinhua

Mongolian president's visit came just two days after the Zuunbayan-Khangi railway – which runs for 226.9 kilometers across southeastern Mongolia – started operations after eight months of construction. After a 233-kilometer rail line between the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine and Gashuun Sukhait port was launched in September, this new railway line provides a vital connection between the Tavantolgoi-Zuunbayan railway and the Khangi-Mandal border crossing on the Mongolia-China border, laying the foundation for the opening of another new railway transportation channel between Mongolia and China. 

With the railway line going into operation, the annual import and export cargo capacity will increase by 20 million tons, while the total railway transportation volume will increase by 65 percent. The distance to the international market will also be shortened by 242 kilometers, meaning major savings in transportation times and costs.

The railway connection between Mongolia and China is not only tapping into new opportunities between the two countries but the whole regional trade network, which enables Mongolia to have better links with other Asian markets.

The joint statement also underlined the role of the Mongolia-China-Russia Economic Corridor and vowed to accelerate feasibility studies on upgrading the railway link and the construction of the China-Russia gas pipeline, which passes through Mongolia. 

In addition, the two sides will strengthen exchanges and cooperation between legislatures, governments, political parties and at the sub-national levels. They will work more closely on science and technology, education, health, tourism, media, youth and people-to-people exchanges, so as to cement Mongolia-China friendship and benefit the two peoples. 

Both parties also decided to deepen exchanges on education, technology and tourism, increase the number of direct flights according to the epidemic situation, and conduct cooperation on disaster reduction and desertification control. 

The President of Mongolia himself has initiated a movement to plant a "Billion Trees" in Mongolia and during the two leaders' meeting, President Xi reaffirmed China's support to the initiative. The two sides agreed to establish a research center in Ulaanbaatar to combat desertification. Moreover, China will support the construction of a National Theater of Arts, Mongolian youth sports center and other projects as new landmarks of Mongolia-China friendship. 

After the official talks between the two presidents, two sides have signed 16 bilateral cooperation documents covering economy, trade, investment, customs and desertification mitigation fields.

President Khurelsukh's state visit to China was a significant event in the history of relations between the two countries and it set important directions for the development of bilateral relations in the future.

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