Mongolia to become an integral part of Asia-Pacific

2016-07-20 14:45:34

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ So called “land-locked” Mongolia is quickly becoming a strategic partner and an important regional player of the Asia-Pacific. Whether it is Mongolia’s small country diplomacy, the tremendous natural resources or the peacefulness of the country, both regional and international actors recognize Mongolia’s accountability and transparency in the ever evolving contemporary global political arena. Mongolia’s involvement in international peace missions, multilateral dialogue, regional peace and security cooperation has marked its very own development and openness of the foreign policy approaches.

In the past five months, the world has learned that North Korea’s nuclear issue has turned into a prolonged crisis that has not been solved by the numerous peace treaties, economic sanctions, and unilateral approaches. Those in the West may not feel the threat in the back yard, but in the Asia-Pacificit is a ticking bomb scenario. North Korea’s repetitive “rogue” actnot only threatensregional peace and security but also jeopardizes both political and economic solutions to overcome its protracted desolation. While neighboring countries, China, Japan, and South Koreaare on deterrent level, Mongolia to become an integral part of stabilizing the Korean Peninsula.One way to look at North Korea’s nuclear crisis is to separate states by nuclear weapons state (NWS) vs. non-nuclear weapons state (NNWS). In this regard, North Korea’s intermittent position may highlight the level of threat received from the NWS such as China and Japan, and the U.S. backed strong military presence in South Korea; hencepositioning Mongolia as a possible peacemaker, like Norway (Mongolia-Peace Mediator), (Mongolia-US-DPKR).

Mongolia-North Korea’s relations can date back to the Korean War of 1953 and continues to this day. While the Mongolian government condemns North Korea’s dangerous moves in the pacific, Mongolia continues to believe in the peace negotiation, a stable diplomatic and economic solutions to overcome political, economic, and civil issues in Korean peninsula (Mongolia-North Korea).

Since the Korean War of 1953, the Mongolian foreign ministries have believed in the peaceful unification of Korea; thus kept diplomatic dialogues open for both South and the North. The earliest diplomatic engagement with DPRK dates back to 1988, when two countries signed a Legal Assistance Agreement for development of civil society and criminal justice legal framework.After Mongolia’s peaceful democratic revolution in 1990, Mongolia and DPRK’s political system has diverged. Mongolia’speaceful democratic transition could have been a perfect model for DPRK’s very political transition. As of Mongolia’s foreign policy objectives moves beyond the good-neighbors, Russia and China, North Korea was to become one of its development routes via economic ties.In 2009, Mongolia’s Ministry of Road and Transportation has signed a transit agreement with the North Korean authorities to utilize the Rajin Port for export purposes (Rajin Port Agreement). The agreement would allow Mongolia to ship 25,000 tons of coal to North Korea. As Mongolia strives to diversify its economy through‘third neighbor policy’ this very agreement could turn into a diplomatic bridge to unlock North Korea. On the same token, the transit agreement highlights the fact North Korea is willing to open up at some level with non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) non-threatening country such as Mongolia.

From a security standpoint, Mongolia’s position in the Asia-Pacific is to push for Six-Party Talk over DPRK’s nuclear program. Since the early 2013, foreign ministries have been active in support for peaceful solution and have been recognized as a possible mediator to the international community.

In June 2014, Mongolia hosted the “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security” international conference to promote stability, peace and security, and economic cooperation with the DPRK. The gatherings of 35 representatives (including Mongolia, Russia, China, Japan, DPRK, ROK, the US, Germany, and the Netherlands) illustrated the importance of international coalition and its dedication to the prolonged nuclear issue. The presence of Ulaanbaatar has made a significant position to mediate future negotiations to stabilize the Korean Peninsula. On the home front, the hosting of such an important conference highlights the accountability and transparency of Mongolia’s status in the international political arena.

In 2015, Mongolia and South Korea has celebrated the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and integrated civil and economic ties (Mongolia-South Korea Relations).

The year 2016 brought a wind of change to Mongolia’s political sphere with parliamentary election; sweeping victory of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) with 65/76 seats. A week after the parliamentary election, Mongolia celebrated its 95th year of independence, national holiday “Naadam” which coincided with Asia-Europe Meeting11 (ASEM). The hosting of ASEM in Ulaanbaatar once again highlights Mongolia’s accountability and development as a democratic country and an emerging market of the North East Asia. ASEM summit not only bridged 51 high-level representatives from Asia and Europe but also brought leaders closer on solving contemporary issues on a bilateral and multilateral level (ASEM11 Declaration).

During the ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar from July 12th to 16th, global events were occurring one after another, starting with the South China Sea (SCS) arbitration case. The Hague’s verdict against Chinese territorial claims in the nine-dash line island forced Chinese premier Li Keqiang to advise Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to stay out of SCS dispute (Li Keqiang and Shinzo Abe). Unforeseen, Nice attack also shocked leaders attending ASEM and mourned together in a minute of silence (ASEM Leader's Mourn). Ulaanbaatar has turned into a place for unification and the future at the same time.

From ASEM Summit, Mongolia seeks a continued accountability from the international community to increase investment in major economic sector such as energy, infrastructure, and mining via our good neighbor policy with Russia and China and extending out to the world via third-neighbor foreign policy.Mongolia’s very hosting of international events such as Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Security Summit (UBD), OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), and ASEM11 demonstrates the overall development, capability, and a far-sighted foreign policy.

The Greatest conqueror Chingis Khan once said: “Those without far-sighted goals suffer from constant obstacles.” With the successful hosting of ASEM11 Summit, Mongoliahopes to host Olympics by 2050.

Bolor Lkhaajav