Friday, June 27, 2014

D.Gankhuyag: Wang Yi’s visit will strengthen Mongolia-China relation and cooperation

Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi visited Mongolia from June 24 to 26. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag gave an interview regarding the visit.

How do you assess the importance of the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi to Mongolia? What’s the significance of his visit?

The visit is a response to the official visit of Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold in January. It will contribute in the two countries’ strategic partnership and cooperation for all sectors, strengthen mutual trust and understanding as well as enable international and regional cooperation. This visit is very significant for bilateral cooperation. Both ministers of the two countries will hold a formal meeting to discuss and exchange ideas about key issues on bilateral collaboration in the fields of politics, economics, culture and welfare. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they’ll discuss the status of current cooperation and future prospects between the two ministries, and both countries’ policies and positions for international and regional cooperation.

Furthermore, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs will have an audience with Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, and Deputy Minister D.Terbishdagvad to interchange views on costly issues of the two countries. They’ll also complete preparation work for near-future visits and exchange opinions and information for developing cooperation between the two ministries and other issues of mutual interest.

This year is the 65th anniversary of Mongolia-China diplomatic ties. How do you see the prospects of the bilateral relation?

This year marks the 65th anniversary of Mongolia-China diplomatic ties, which was established in 1949. It’s also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the revised friendly relations and cooperation agreement between Mongolia and China. To commemorate these anniversaries, both sides announced this year as the Year of Mongolia-China Friendly Exchanges and agreed to organize many events and measures together. Most of them are being implemented step by step, including events such as organizing cultural days and film festivals, displaying photography exhibitions, holding art performances and implementing exchanges for children and youths. Mutual visits of top leaders are included in these measures. This visit of the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs will be followed by a state visit of the Chinese President to Mongolia, and then, an official visit by Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold to China near the end of this year.

In recent years, every bilateral relation and cooperation has been successful. Visits of top leaders have become frequent and mutual works for trade and economy are continuing actively. The two countries are successfully working together within the framework of regional and international cooperation mechanisms. The vital part of strengthening friendship and understanding between the people of the two countries is the strenuous cooperation in culture, education, science, technology, health, and welfare sectors. The prospects of 2014 are getting better as Mongolia-China relations and cooperation continues to intensify and deepen.

Currently, Mongolian and Chinese relations are in the most favorable time in history. The Chinese side also has the same opinion. Strategic partnership, which is the highest level of relations between countries, is being implemented. There aren’t any problematic issues in political affairs or land and border related matters, we’re constantly exchanging our opinions and positions which we’re holding regarding international and regional issues. We’re cooperating to keep world as well as regional peace and safety. Mongolian and Chinese borders have been completely specified. In other words, it’s become a peaceful border.

For many years, China has been the biggest partner and investor for Mongolian foreign trade. During the 4th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which took place in Singapore in May, Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj met with the President of China Xi Jinping and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation for a wide range of issues. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s official position by stating, “China respects Mongolia’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and respects the development path that Mongolia has chosen for itself in accordance with its national conditions.” He also mentioned that China will be more considerate to the interests of the Mongolian side when cooperating in the future with Mongolia. This gives Mongolia favorable conditions and opportunities to develop.

China has the most neighboring countries in its region. China expressed their new approach to redefine policies with neighbor countries and realize common development. Can you comment on this?

In October 2013, China held a meeting on foreign policy issues for its neighboring countries and made a decision to pay special attention to its neighbors and enable renewed foreign relations. In accordance to this decision, few months after the New Year, China’s relation with its neighbors intensified and established free trade agreements as well as free zone agreements with several countries. They also improved the current level of relations and are cooperating actively to take a new step forward. The President of China also expressed his interests to become good neighbors, good friends and good partners, and support each other on issues of core interest and major concern. Mongolia sees this as favorable for Mongolia-China bilateral relations as well as for regional cooperation. In relation to this, during the official visit of Minister L.Bold to China in January, Vice President of China Li Yuanchao Keqiang welcomed him and introduced him to the above policy. Li Yuanchao said, “China pays a particular importance to relations with neighboring countries including Mongolia in pursuit for closer, open-minded, and mutually beneficial policy.”

How is Mongolia-China relations and cooperation in fields of trade and economy? How are major projects progressing?

Mongolia established a strategic partnership with China in 2011. Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag developed a medium and long term program for developing the strategic partnership during his official visit to China in 2013. Based on this, bilateral collaboration is progressing well in all sectors including politics, economics, culture, and welfare sectors. Especially in the last few years, we worked together in major projects for energy, mining and infrastructure and we have a good outlook for getting actual results from previous projects. The main pillars of Mongolia-China strategic partnership are trade and economic cooperation. Business entities of both countries are actively collaborating in mining, construction, road, transportation, agriculture, bank and financial sectors. China has been the biggest partner and investor for Mongolian foreign trade for the last 14 years.

During this visit, counterparties of Mongolia and China will assess the progress of Mongolia-China relations in recent years, confirm mutual interests to deepen and develop bilateral relations further, and exchange ideas and opportunities to widen cooperation. They’ll be discussing important agreements which the presidents of both countries agreed on last year as well as measures to implement the medium and long-term program to develop the Mongolia-China strategic partnership which includes large scale projects for economic cooperation, coal gasification, and railroad construction.

Mongolia plans to build a 5,600 km long railroad and started the first stage to build 1,800 km in 2013. Notable major corporations, banking and financial organizations are welcome to participate in accordance to market regulations in this railroad construction as well as other industrial development projects. With intentions to intensify cooperation, we’re negotiating the extending of previously active Mongolia-China Minerals and Energy Council and making it into a Cooperation Council for Minerals, Energy and Infrastructure. Mongolia is interested in co-establishing a coal-based power plant and exporting coal to China. We have opportunity to continue this talk during visits of top country leaders and make further progress. Coal gasification project is giving considerable amount of result and we’re working to get actual outcome in the near future. This project can be considered as one of the biggest projects in the history of Mongolia-China cooperation in economics. It’s also very important for reducing air pollution in Mongolia.

The public has little information and understanding of Mongolia-China relations and cooperation. They have various impressions and views regarding cooperation especially for railroad and mining sectors. What are your reviews on this matter?

Countries around the world are developing and changing very quickly. Regions are actively developing and globalizing. They’re not losing any opportunities to develop and are working together to create favorable and secure environment for safety and foreign relations. Certainly, looking back and comparing the past would give negative effects for development. The correct thing to do now is to keep moving forward, use every opportunity for development and prosperity and focus on creating secure environment for safety. Presently, there are all sorts of debates about the type of rail road to build; wide or narrow gauge. Respective agencies will discuss this issue and submit it to the government and Parliament. In other words, we, Mongolians, will decide it by ourselves. There’ll be no external interferences.

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