B. Battsetseg: Mongolia’s Foreign Relations to Remain Active in 2023
On January 30, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia B. Battsetseg held a press conference to present the visits made in 2022 and their results, and the works the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will undertake in 2023.
The Foreign Minister said “Mongolia pursues peace-loving, open, independent, and multi-pillared foreign policy. This policy has been very well enforced and implemented in 2022. In other words, 2022 was a year full of events that demonstrated how correct our policy was from the very beginning. I would like to emphasize three points. First, I would like to reiterate that the peace-loving, open, multi-pillared, and independent foreign policy of our country was right from the beginning. Second, we have paid particular attention to maintaining our position with our two neighbors and “third neighbors”, the United Nations, and other international organizations, and ensuring the unity of foreign policy. Thirdly, at a time when global economic growth has declined, there was a need to significantly stimulate foreign relations in order to create the preconditions for coping with relatively less damage. Therefore, 2022 was the year when Mongolia actively developed and intensified its foreign relations. More than 10 foreign visits, including the visits of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and six foreign ministers paid to our country.
The visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres coincided with the 60th anniversary of Mongolia's accession to the United Nations in 1961, the 30th anniversary of the declaration of its territory as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and the 20th anniversary of its participation in peacekeeping operations. During his visit, Mr. Antonio Guterres described Mongolia as “a symbol of peace in a troubled world.
To improve the efficiency of international cooperation projects and programs of the UN, our country intends to accelerate our efforts in the following three areas in the future. First, it is important to work more closely toward digitizing all government services by 2024, putting at least 90 percent of them on the "E-Mongolia" platform, and becoming a digital nation while implementing the long-term development objectives set out in the Sustainable Development-2030 and Vision-2050.
The visits of the Mongolian President, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to China in 2022 yielded great results and contributed to the adoption of important political decisions in various fields.
The major construction projects implemented jointly within the framework of grants and concessional loans were finally discussed and agreed upon. We have made notable progress on the issues that have been discussed for many years such as improving the infrastructure and accessibility of border ports connecting the two countries.
The Chinese side expressed that it stands ready to provide full support for the "One Billion Trees" National Campaign. In the future, it was agreed to implement joint projects and programs in the field of environmental protection. In the framework of the Mongolian President’s visit to China, 16 cooperation documents were signed and a joint statement with 19 provisions was issued.
2021 marked the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia. In commemoration of the diplomatic anniversary, President of Mongolia U. Khurelsukh paid an official visit to the country. In 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia paid a visit to Mongolia, during which we mutually expressed our satisfaction over the successful development of relations and cooperation at the level of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” while voicing willingness to further consolidate the bilateral relations. Moreover, the Heads of State of Mongolia, Russia, and China met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan in 2022, reaching agreements on the projects included in the Mongolia-Russia-China Economic Corridor Program.
Mongolian President U. Khurelsukh made a state visit, which he had not made in the last 12 years, in November of last year as part of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Japan. During the visit, the cooperation of the past 50 years was reviewed and the goals of relations for the next 50 years were proposed. Japan has announced that it will plant 50,000 trees and train 20,000 of our youth in this field.
The development of relations with the Republic of Korea occupies an important position in our “third neighbor” policy. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country visited Mongolia for the first time in eight years, during which we evaluated the thirty years of relations and defined the vision for the next thirty years. In doing so, we agreed to work efficiently in the fields of transportation, logistics, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture, establish a Mongolia-South Korea Joint Research Center for Rare Earth Elements, and plant trees on 45 hectares as part of the “Green Wall” Phase III project. Moreover, negotiations are underway to ease the visa requirements for Mongolian citizens traveling to South Korea.
Prime Minister of Mongolia L. Oyun-Erdene paid an official visit to Singapore. Within the framework of introducing Singapore’s knowledge-based development experience in Mongolia, the sides signed three cooperation documents. The Prime Minister also made an official visit to Germany and agreed to implement a program to train 1,000 engineers in transport, logistics, energy, mining, information technology, urban planning, agriculture, and forestry. Also, with the help of Germany, it was agreed to study the possibilities of establishing a semi-processing plant for rare earth elements.
Countries around the world are facing many challenges today. Therefore, countries tend to ensure their economic independence, reduce their mutual dependence, and develop trade and economy only with partner countries with friendly relations. As for our country, we will maintain balanced relations with our two neighboring countries and third neighbors, prioritize our national interests, and continue to implement our strategic independent foreign policy. In addition, the Government of Mongolia has made a decision to temporarily exempt visa requirements from the citizens of 34 countries in 2023-2025. In this regard, we will focus on promoting Mongolia in a broader scope.
As of today, 127 thousand of Mongolian citizens live in 87 countries. In that sense, there are important tasks such as conducting the appointment of diplomatic staff without politicization, strengthening the capacity of the staff, thereby strengthening the consular office, protecting the interests of citizens working abroad, increasing the amount of the risk fund, and expanding social insurance services. Therefore, Mongolia's foreign relations will remain active this year."